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adjective pa·ter·nal \pə-ˈtər-nəl\

: of or relating to a father

: related through the father

Full Definition of PATERNAL

a :  of or relating to a father
b :  like that of a father <paternal benevolence>
:  received or inherited from one's male parent
:  related through one's father <paternal grandfather>
pa·ter·nal·ly \-nəl-ē\ adverb

Examples of PATERNAL

  1. He did not neglect his paternal responsibilities after the divorce.

Origin of PATERNAL

Middle English, from Late Latin paternalis, from Latin paternus paternal, from pater
First Known Use: 15th century
PATERNALLY Defined for Kids


adjective pa·ter·nal \pə-ˈtər-nəl\

Definition of PATERNAL for Kids

:  of or like that of a father :  fatherly <“I wasn't offering it to you, Poliakoff,” snapped Karkaroff, his warmly paternal air vanishing … — J. K. Rowling, Goblet of Fire>
:  related through the father <my paternal cousins>
pa·ter·nal·ly adverb

Word Root of PATERNAL

The Latin word pater, meaning father, and the Greek word patēr give us the root pater or patr. Anyone or anything paternal, such as an aunt or uncle, is related to one's father. A patriarch is a father and ruler of a family or tribe. A patriot is a person who loves his or her fatherland or country. A patron is a person who gives support and approval for a project or artist, as fathers support and approve of their children.


Next Word in the Dictionary: paternalismPrevious Word in the Dictionary: paterissaAll Words Near: paternal
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