father

noun
fa·​ther | \ ˈfä-t͟hər How to pronounce father (audio) \
plural fathers

Definition of father

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a male parent
(2) : a man who has begotten a child also : a male animal who has sired an offspring
b capitalized
(1) : god sense 1
(2) : the first person of the Trinity (see Trinity sense 1)
2 : forefather the founding fathers
3a : 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 often capitalized : a pre-Scholastic (see scholastic sense 1a) Christian writer accepted by the church as an authoritative witness to its teaching and practice

called also church father

5a : 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 the father of all libraries in the country
6 : a priest of the regular clergy broadly : priest used especially as a title
7 : one of the leading men (as of a city) usually used in plural a council of the city fathers

father

verb
fathered; fathering\ ˈfät͟h-​riŋ How to pronounce father (audio) , ˈfä-​t͟hə-​ \

Definition of father (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : beget
b : to be the founder, producer, or author of fathered the improvement plan
c : to accept responsibility for
2a : 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
3 : foist, impose

intransitive verb

: to care for or look after someone as a father might

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Other Words from father

Noun

fatherhood \ ˈfä-​t͟hər-​ˌhu̇d How to pronounce father (audio) \ noun
fatherless \ ˈfä-​t͟hər-​ləs How to pronounce father (audio) \ adjective
fatherlike \ ˈfä-​t͟hər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce father (audio) \ adjective or adverb

Synonyms for father

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of father in a Sentence

Noun He became a father when he was 30. He's the father of three small children. He has been like a father to me. He was a father to me after my own father died. Verb He was praised for fathering a plan to improve the city's schools. Paul Revere somehow found room in his small house for the large family he had fathered.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The September 1921 flood that brought death and devastation to San Antonio ended up being a positive thing for a 17-year-old musician who would go on to be known as the father of jazz trombone. Michael Corcoran, San Antonio Express-News, 8 Sep. 2021 Perrin Damron, 23, was last seen on Friday night when the father of her 2-year-old child came by her house to pick up the toddler, TC Palm reports. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, 8 Sep. 2021 When the car went missing, the father located the Vibe in the same neighborhood where his son would frequently buy drugs. John Benson, cleveland, 8 Sep. 2021 In 2017, as the Philadelphia schools sought to resolve the matter at Solis-Cohen, district leaders enlisted Isaac Gardner, the third-grader’s father, to help with a review of school police officer practices. USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2021 It was supposed to be a turning point in the pandemic for Erin Tokley, a longtime Philadelphia police officer, Baptist minister and 47-year-old father of three. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 7 Sep. 2021 School officials said one of the men is the father of the student who was directed to quarantine and miss the field trip. Perry Vandell, The Arizona Republic, 7 Sep. 2021 Williams earned an Emmy nomination for his heart-wrenching performance as the late father of Exonerated 5 member Antron McCray. Rivea Ruff, Essence, 7 Sep. 2021 Some of the Chibok schoolgirls escape from their captors, the father of one of the girls tells CNN. CNN, 7 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dads who father children and either don’t know about them or don’t claim and help to support and raise them, aren’t always eager to become an instant parent once they are found through DNA matching or on social media. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 15 July 2021 Dads who father children and either don’t know about them or don’t claim and help to support and raise them, aren’t always eager to become an instant parent once they are found through DNA matching or on social media. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 15 July 2021 Dads who father children and either don’t know about them or don’t claim and help to support and raise them, aren’t always eager to become an instant parent once they are found through DNA matching or on social media. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 15 July 2021 Dads who father children and either don’t know about them or don’t claim and help to support and raise them, aren’t always eager to become an instant parent once they are found through DNA matching or on social media. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 15 July 2021 Dads who father children and either don’t know about them or don’t claim and help to support and raise them, aren’t always eager to become an instant parent once they are found through DNA matching or on social media. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 15 July 2021 Dads who father children and either don’t know about them or don’t claim and help to support and raise them, aren’t always eager to become an instant parent once they are found through DNA matching or on social media. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 15 July 2021 Dads who father children and either don’t know about them or don’t claim and help to support and raise them, aren’t always eager to become an instant parent once they are found through DNA matching or on social media. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 15 July 2021 Dads who father children and either don’t know about them or don’t claim and help to support and raise them, aren’t always eager to become an instant parent once they are found through DNA matching or on social media. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 15 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'father.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of father

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for father

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for father

Time Traveler

The first known use of father was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near father

fat hen

father

Father's Day

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Statistics for father

Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Father.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/father. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for father

father

noun

English Language Learners Definition of father

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a male parent
: a man who is thought of as being like a father

father

verb

English Language Learners Definition of father (Entry 2 of 2)

: to become the father of (a child) : to make a woman pregnant so that she gives birth to (a child)
: to invent, create, or produce (something)

father

noun
fa·​ther | \ ˈfä-t͟hər How to pronounce father (audio) \

Kids Definition of father

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a male parent
2 capitalized : god sense 1
4 : a person who cares for another as a father might
5 : a person who invents or begins something the father of modern science
6 : priest
Hint: Sense 6 of father is used especially to address a priest or as a priest's title.

Other Words from father

fatherhood \ -​ˌhu̇d \ noun
fatherless \ -​ləs \ adjective

father

verb
fathered; fathering

Kids Definition of father (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to become the father of
2 : to care for as a father
3 : to be the founder, producer, or author of He fathered a new style of music.

More from Merriam-Webster on father

Nglish: Translation of father for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of father for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about father

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