Latin. n. Household, household of slaves, family, clan. Family. A family or household, including servants. A family, including household servants. - Eccl. The household of a bishop or abbot.
The word familia as used in the civil law, had a much more comprehensive signification than that which it has in our law. In the latter it is used as signifying merely the members of one household, i.e., the husband, with his wife and children, and very often signifies the children alone ; while in the former it signified all who were in any way under the power (in potestate) of the paterfamilias, including wife, children and their wives and children, slaves, &c. Familia was also used as a name for the whole property of the paterfamilias, and hence the name of the action for division of that property, familiœ erciscundœ.