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- The female head of a household
- 1903, Luigi Villari, Italian Life in Town and Country, page 110-111:
- The materfamilias and her daughters do a good deal of the housework, and even open the front door on occasion.
- 1990 June 1, Mary Shen Barnidge, “Who Killed the Dragon Lady”, in Chicago Reader:
- That my old-country materfamilias is actually Chinese--Mandarin Chinese, yet--is a negligible discrepancy.