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

Synonyms for father

Synonyms: Noun

dad, daddy, old man, pa, papa (also poppa), pater [chiefly British], pop, sire

Synonyms: Verb

beget, get, sire

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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

Over the course of American history, there have only been two families in which both the father and the son became president: the Adamses and the Bushes. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Bush Years: Family, Duty, Power," 1 Mar. 2019 Their baby boy's middle names are reportedly Michael and William, in honor of Pippa's father and royal brother-in-law, respectively. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Pippa Middleton Looks Chic During a Rare Outing with Her Son Arthur," 1 Mar. 2019 Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in 2010; both father and son were later convicted of corruption and sentenced in absentia. Samuel Rubenfeld, WSJ, "U.S. to Send Stolen Assets Back to Kyrgyzstan," 27 Feb. 2019 Her relationship with Miley stems from a long-lasting friendship with the 26-year-old's father and fellow musician, Billy Ray Cyrus. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "How Is Dolly Parton Related to Miley Cyrus?," 10 Feb. 2019 This summer, Tarek will also star in an HGTV.com web series following his life as a single father. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Tarek El Moussa Has A New Show And Web Series Coming To HGTV," 24 Jan. 2019 Last August, fossils were announced that showed for the first time a genetic hybrid between the two species—a female who lived 90,000 years ago with a Denisovan father and a Neanderthal mother. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "AI Predicts Humans Have an Ancestor We Don't Even Know About Yet," 17 Jan. 2019 Reuters reported on January 8 that Rahaf’s father and brother have come to Thailand to see her, but the United Nations refugee agency handling Rahaf’s case will need to approve that meeting. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Saudi Teen Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun May Get Asylum From Australia After Fleeing Her Family's Alleged Mistreatment," 8 Jan. 2019 The 25,000 families getting a new paycheck, the mothers and fathers suddenly able to send their kids to the local Catholic school, the busy sidewalks, the lights. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Welcome to New York, Amazon—Now Go Home," 21 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

By 2014, about 100 babies had been born in the group, and the researchers used DNA, collected from the gorillas’ feces, to work out how many babies each male had fathered. Alison Gopnik, WSJ, "For Gorillas, Being a Good Dad Is Sexy," 30 Nov. 2018 Kenton liked the commercial and was disheartened by the comments about black men not sticking around to father their children. Jeneé Osterheldt, kansascity, "Cheerios ad brings on the nuts," 1 June 2013 Children fathered by their Muslim captors posed a more complex challenge. Isabel Coles And, WSJ, "Nisreen’s Choice: Women Rescued From Islamic State Are Told to Leave Children Behind," 23 Aug. 2018 So are Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård as her old boyfriends, Sam, Harry and Bill, any one of whom might have fathered Sophie, and all of whom help Sophie evoke her mother’s past. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Review: A Pop Sequel With Pep," 19 July 2018 In the last three decades, just two males fathered half the calves in the last three decades, and only a third of the females are breeding, just once every decade instead of every five years. New York Times, "Orcas of the Pacific Northwest Are Starving and Disappearing," 9 July 2018 During season one, Connie Britton’s character Vivien Harmon gives birth to two babies; one dies immediately and the other, fathered by the ghostly Tate Langdon (Evan Peters), is raised by Constance (Jessica Lange). Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Ryan Murphy Reveals Cody Fern Will Play the Grown-Up Devil Child from “American Horror Story: Murder House”," 27 July 2018 Hofburg, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby, is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and was sired by Tapit, who fathered the winners of three of the last four Belmonts. Nora Princiotti, BostonGlobe.com, "Bob Baffert is hoping for a good break for Justify in the Belmont Stakes," 6 June 2018 Through his non-profit Pilots to the Rescue, Schneider volunteered his time and pilot skills to fly Jack the red wolf to WCC so the animal could father the new pups. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "With Only 30 Red Wolves Left in the Wild, These 10 Newborn Pups Are Big News," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for father

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for father

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

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

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)
of a man : 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: This sense 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on father

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with father

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for father

Spanish Central: Translation of father

Nglish: Translation of father for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of father for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about father

Comments on father

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