- in ancient Rome, a clan united by descent through the male line from a common ancestor and having both name and religious observances in common
- any tribe or clan; esp., an exogamous group claiming descent through the male line
Origin of gensClassical Latin origin, originally , that belonging together by birth ; from base of gignere, to beget: see genus
- A patrilineal clan of ancient Rome composed of several families of the same name claiming a common ancestor and belonging to a common religious cult.
- Anthropology An exogamous patrilineal clan.
Origin of gensLatin gēns; see gen&schwa;- in Indo-European roots.
Shortened from generations.
(plural gentes or genses)
- (historical) A legally defined unit of Roman society, being a collection of people related by birth, marriage or adoption, but allowing a greater amount of time between members and their common ancestor than is commonly implied by the term related.
- (anthropology) A tribal subgroup whose members are characterized by having the same descent, usually along the male line.
(historical Roman unit of society): The concept is close to and often translated as clan, but the two are not identical. The alternative tribe is also sometimes used, but the Latin tribus has a separate meaning.