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ma·ter·fa·mil·i·as  (mtr-f-ml-s)
A woman who is the head of a household or the mother of a family.

[Latin mterfamilis : mter, mother; see mater + familis, archaic genitive of familia, household; see family.]

materfamilias (ˌmeɪtəfəˈmɪlɪˌæs)
n, pl matresfamilias (ˌmeɪtreɪzfəˈmɪlɪˌæs)
1. the mother of a family or the female head of a family
[C18: from Latin]

ma•ter•fa•mil•i•as (ˌmeɪ tər fəˈmɪl i əs)

the mother of a family.
[1750–60; < Latin]
Thesaurus Legend:  Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Noun1.materfamilias - a female head of a family or tribematerfamilias - a female head of a family or tribe  
head of household - the head of a household or family or tribe
adult female, woman - an adult female person (as opposed to a man); "the woman kept house while the man hunted"

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Happy the materfamilias who resides in a home she purchased back in the 1960s; less fortunate her granddaughter seeking to buy today (or suckers like me, who bought near the market's all-time peak in July 2006).
Similarly, Marlow's Gordon comes across more as a slightly wimpy guy with a problem than as a man driven to desperate acts by a lunatic materfamilias.
Laura Pallavicina-Sanvitale (1495-1576) became materfamilias of the Zibello branch of the Sanvitale family when her husband died on the battlefield in 1519, leaving her to defend their two sons' property inheritance.
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