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From Latin parapherna, and ultimately from Ancient Greek παρά (pará) + φερνή (phernḗ) (“things additional to a dowry”). In the propertied classes, a dowry was placed under the control of the husband, while the 'paraphernalia' which she brought with her remained the wife’s property.


parapherna (uncountable)

  1. (law, historical, Ancient Rome) A woman's property which was not made a part of her marriage dower but remained her own.

Related terms[edit]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for parapherna in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)