Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

father

play
noun fa·ther \ˈfä-thər\

Simple Definition of father

  • : a male parent

  • : a man who is thought of as being like a father

  • : a person who was in someone's family in past times

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of father

  1. 1 a :  a man who has begotten a child; also :  sire 3 b capitalized (1) :  god 1 (2) :  the first person of the Trinity

  2. 2 :  forefather

  3. 3 a :  one related to another in a way suggesting that of father to child b :  an old man —used as a respectful form of address

  4. 4 often capitalized :  a pre-Scholastic Christian writer accepted by the church as an authoritative witness to its teaching and practice —called also church father

  5. 5 a :  one that originates or institutes <the father of modern science> b :  source <the sun, the father of warmth and light — Lena M. Whitney> c :  prototype

  6. 6 :  a priest of the regular clergy; broadly :  priest —used especially as a title

  7. 7 :  one of the leading men (as of a city) —usually used in plural

fatherhood

play \-ˌhu̇d\ noun

fatherless

play \-ləs\ adjective

fatherlike

play \-ˌlīk\ adjective or adverb

Examples of father in a sentence

  1. He became a father when he was 30.

  2. He's the father of three small children.

  3. He has been like a father to me.

  4. He was a father to me after my own father died.



Origin and Etymology of father

Middle English fader, from Old English fæder; akin to Old High German fater father, Latin pater, Greek patēr


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

father

verb fa·ther

Simple Definition of father

  • : to become the father of (a child) : to make a woman pregnant so that she gives birth to (a child)

  • of a man : to invent, create, or produce (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of father

fathered

fathering

play \ˈfäth-riŋ, ˈfä-thə-\
  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  beget b :  to be the founder, producer, or author of <fathered the improvement plan> c :  to accept responsibility for

  3. 2 a :  to fix the paternity or origin of b :  to place responsibility for the origin or cause of <collected gossip and fathered it on responsible men — J. A. Williamson>

  4. 3 :  foist, impose

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to care for or look after someone as a father might

Examples of father in a sentence

  1. He was praised for fathering a plan to improve the city's schools.

  2. <Paul Revere somehow found room in his small house for the large family he had fathered.>



15th Century

First Known Use of father

15th century

Rhymes with father



FATHER Defined for Kids

1

father

play
noun fa·ther \ˈfä-thər\

Definition of father for Students

  1. 1 :  a male parent

  2. 2 cap :  god 1

  3. 3 :  ancestor 1

  4. 4 :  a person who cares for another as a father might

  5. 5 :  a person who invents or begins something <the father of modern science>

  6. 6 :  priest Hint: This sense of father is used especially to address a priest or as a priest's title.

fatherhood

\-ˌhu̇d\ noun

fatherless

\-ləs\ adjective



2

father

play
verb fa·ther

Definition of father for Students

fathered

fathering

  1. 1 :  to become the father of

  2. 2 :  to care for as a father

  3. 3 :  to be the founder, producer, or author of <He fathered a new style of music.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up father? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the lowest point

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

formless massive frightening experimental
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ