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Meaning of patria potestas

pa•tri•a po•tes•tas

Pronunciation: (pā'trē-u pō-tes'tus, pä'-, pa'- Lat. pä'tri-ä&sec pō-tes'täs), [key]
— Roman Law. Roman Law.
  1. the power vested in the paterfamilias or head of the Roman family with respect to his wife, natural or adopted children, and agnatic descendants: title to family property is vested exclusively in the paterfamilias. Property acquired by a family member becomes family property, and no family member can enter into a transaction in his or her own right.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.