Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n.pl. Roman Mythology The Roman gods of the household, tutelary deities of the home and of the state, whose cult was closely connected and often identified with that of the Lares.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.pl. The household gods of the ancient Romans. They presided over the home and the family hearth. See Lar.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In Rom, antiquity, the household gods, who presided over families, and were worshiped in the interior of every dwelling. They included the Lares. See Lar.

Etymologies

Latin Penātēs, from penus, foodstuff, interior of a house.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • [Footnote 1: Hence one explanation of the name Penates, because they were supposed to reign in the inmost Heavens.] [Footnote 2:

    Poems

  • And the two -- the natural and supernatural -- were not distinct from each other, but associated, in fact almost identical; the hearth-fire was the dwelling of Vesta, the spirit of the flame; the Penates were the spirits of the stores on which the family subsisted, and dwelt in the store-cupboard or larder; the paterfamilias had himself a supernatural side, in the shape of his

    Social life at Rome in the Age of Cicero

  • We may remember that the Penates were the spirits of the food itself, not merely of the place in which it was stored; it had therefore a sacred character, which is also shown by the sanctification of the firstfruits (_R. F._ pp. 151, 195).

    The Religious Experience of the Roman People From the Earliest Times to the Age of Augustus

  • The Penates were the gods who were supposed to attend to the welfare and prosperity of the family.

    The Age of Fable

  • Attend indulgent. my Triumph of Woman is manufacturd into a tolerable poem. my Hymn to the Penates will be the best of my minor pieces. the B.B. Eclogues may possibly become popular.

    Letter 184

  • Hence they form a kind of Penates, who are supposed to lead an invisible life in the family circle.

    The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead, Volume I (of 3) The Belief Among the Aborigines of Australia, the Torres Straits Islands, New Guinea and Melanesia

  • Penates of the ancient heathens, with other curious nondescript articles, some of which, in the superstitious opinions of that period, seemed to be designed for magical purposes.

    Quentin Durward

  • Puritanism combined with Industrialism threw away the Lares and Penates like the disused dolls of a dead infancy and went on to what was counted the Manhood of the Manchester School; with what results we see today.12

    Oikos and Logos: Chesterton's Vision of Distributism

  • The high house, the Regia, was the great shrine of the city, a sacred place, for our store-room gods and ancestors were the Penates and Lares of the city and the people.

    'Lavinia'

  • They were not large, but they were the only images in human form in Laurentum, except the little clay Penates, and they filled me with fear.

    'Lavinia'

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.