5

The prefixes "patr-" and "matr-" refer, respectively, to father and mother--e.g., a patriarch is a father who rules a family, and a matrilineal society is one where property is passed from mother to daughter.

Is there a prefix that refers more generally to "parent"?

  • 2
    There is the word ancestors. – Elliott Frisch Feb 27 '14 at 19:12
  • @ElliottFrisch It's certainly a good suggestion, but not so specific to parents. – David M Feb 27 '14 at 19:44
  • @DavidM I know. It's also not really a prefix. – Elliott Frisch Feb 27 '14 at 19:45
  • @ElliottFrisch I was on the same fence with progenitor. Ancestr- can be used as a prefix of sorts. Ancestry, Ancestral, etc. Yes, it's mostly carrying the suffix, but still. – David M Feb 27 '14 at 19:49
4

The answer is yes, and that prefix is parent.

From MW;

Origin of PARENT

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin parent-, parens; akin to Latin parere to give birth to

  • It should end with a vowel to function as a standard English prefix comparable with "patri-" and "matri-", right? Otherwise how can I attach it to suffixes like "-archy", "-cracy", "-philia", "-mancy", etc.? That makes me more inclined to go with Roger's "parri-", but there aren't any examples other than "parricide", so a pattern isn't established. – sigil Feb 27 '14 at 20:19
  • @sigil English is a very irregular language. Con is a prefix that ends in a consonant. So there are precedents. – Elliott Frisch Feb 27 '14 at 20:21
  • Hmm..."parri-" looks more technical and attaches nicely to the usual bag of Greek suffixes, but there's more evidence in the corpus for "parent-" (e.g. "parentage"). The only samples of "parriarchy" online are misspellings of "patriarchy", whereas usages of the neologism "parentarchy" appear to have the correct usage. I'll go with this one. – sigil Feb 27 '14 at 21:16
  • 1
    I'm disappointed that a Google for 'parentomancy' returns 0 hits! That seems like a word that deserves wider use. OTOH, parentophobia and parentophilia return 40K and 100K hits respectively. – Spike0xff Nov 17 '14 at 22:24
6

"Parr-" seems to be the general term to refer to either parent, at least insofar as the term "parricide" vs. "matricide" or "patricide".

Parricide: Characteristics of sons and daughters who kill their parents

Understanding Parricide: When Sons and Daughters Kill Parents

I haven't done an exhaustive search to see if this prefix is used in any other contexts, though.

  • I went with Elliott Frisch's answer, based on empirical evidence (see my comment on that answer), but "parri-" feels more prefix-y. If you can find other examples to support the claim, I'd be willing to reconsider your answer. – sigil Feb 27 '14 at 21:18

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