father

1 of 2

noun

fa·​ther ˈfä-t͟hər How to pronounce father (audio)
plural fathers
1
a(1)
: a male parent
(2)
: a man who has begotten a child
also : a male animal who has sired an offspring
b capitalized
(1)
(2)
: the first person of the Trinity (see Trinity sense 1)
2
: forefather
the founding fathers
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
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

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
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
fatherhood noun
fatherless adjective
fatherlike adjective or adverb

father

2 of 2

verb

fathered; fathering ˈfät͟h-riŋ How to pronounce father (audio)
ˈfä-t͟hə-

transitive verb

1
a
: beget
b
: to be the founder, producer, or author of
fathered the improvement plan
c
: to accept responsibility for
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 menJ. A. Williamson
3

intransitive verb

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
As the prosecutor showed jurors photos of Woll's stab wounds − she was stabbed eight times in the neck and head − her father sat in the courtroom with his face buried in his hands. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 9 July 2024 In the 1990s, Sheehan pivoted to paternal roles on the small screen, most notably playing Cher Horowitz's father on the UPN adaptation of Clueless. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 9 July 2024
Verb
Moreover, other commenters in Thompson's Prince post wondered why the basketball star never shares photos of son Theo, whom the NBA star fathered with Nichols while still in a relationship with Kardashian. Aron Solomon, Newsweek, 9 July 2024 Estimates vary for how many children Meijer has fathered via his sperm donations, with some estimates at 500 and others, as in The Man With 1,000 Kids, in the upwards of 1,000. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 3 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for father 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'father.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near father

Cite this Entry

“Father.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/father. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

father

1 of 2 noun
fa·​ther ˈfät͟h-ər How to pronounce father (audio)
ˈfȧth-
1
a
: a male parent
b
capitalized : god sense 1
c
capitalized : the first person of the Christian Trinity
2
3
: a man who cares for another as a father might
4
: a man who invents or begins something
the father of modern science
5
: priest
used especially as a title
fatherhood noun
fatherless adjective

father

2 of 2 verb
fathered; fathering ˈfät͟h-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce father (audio)
ˈfȧt͟h-
1
b
: to be the founder, producer, or author of
2
: to treat or care for someone as a father

More from Merriam-Webster on father

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