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

Alex and Eric Smith, whose father, Frederick Smith, is a co-owner and director of the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates TV stations around the country. Washington Post, "Critics say a new Baltimore crab house is targeting minorities with its strict dress code," 17 Sep. 2019 The father of five then starts teaching Tyler the basics of milking a cow. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Watch Fixer Upper Star Chip Gaines Try to Milk a Cow Straight Into a YouTuber's Mouth," 13 Sep. 2019 The parents are now hoping to find out who their daughter’s real father is -- and if Wasilewski sperm was used in another treatment accidentally. Fox News, "New Jersey parents sue fertility clinic after mix-up results in daughter having different biological father: reports," 12 Sep. 2019 The 55-year-old father of five and longtime La Crescenta resident was killed in an accident following a family boat outing in Lake Havasu, Ariz., on Saturday evening. Andrew J. Campa, Glendale News-Press, "Tributes grow for Valley View Elementary custodian accidentally killed," 12 Sep. 2019 Her mother could read, but Parton's father was illiterate. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Governor DeWine grants $5 million to help Dolly Parton ship a book a month to every child in the state," 10 Sep. 2019 And Charlotte’s father is the town sheriff, which might have been convenient during a murder spree. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Giant': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 Trying to be a Good Mom Dear Trying: Your son’s father is not an attentive or responsible parent. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Distant dad has generous sons on family plan," 4 Sep. 2019 King’s father was 16 at the time of the birth, and just as unprepared for parenthood as Nettleton. oregonlive, "Young woman killed in Southeast Portland aimed to be 'best mom she could’ to special-needs son," 3 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Florida Gators’ golf coach married the love of his life, fathered two children and took over one of the nation’s premiere programs. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "UF golf coach JC Deacon looks to continue career renaissance, capture second Florida Open," 11 July 2019 Aaron—best known for his fatal duel with Alexander Hamilton— fathered John Pierre when his first wife, Theodosia, was dying of cancer. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "155 Years After His Death, Abolitionist John Pierre Burr’s Epitaph Updated to Include His Father, Aaron Burr," 24 Aug. 2019 Despite his apparent lack of interest in Wyatt's birth, perhaps Gase is better at fathering children than actually coaching. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Adam Gase Left His Wife Immediately After She Gave Birth to Meet With Peyton Manning," 7 Aug. 2019 On Scorpion, Drake confirmed the rumor and rapped several discomfiting lines about having fathered a child with the former adult film actor Sophie Brussaux. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Drake’s Troubling Reunion With Chris Brown," 30 July 2019 Only veteran players who have been god-fathered in under former NFL rules can wear them, such as Cardinals outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Kyler Murray daily report: Is Arizona Cardinals QB too patient?," 30 July 2019 So even beyond the ability to father a child, there are strong associations between poor semen quality and poor health. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Sperm counts are falling. This isn’t the reproductive apocalypse — yet.," 30 May 2019 In January, Autumn gave birth to Kiden, her first calf to be fathered by Miles, a 10-year-old male giraffe who still lives at Greenville Zoo. USA TODAY, "Retired monkeys, freeze-dried blood, ‘Hidden Figures Way’: News from around our 50 states," 14 June 2019 While pondering how Perry could’ve become the man Celeste knew, Season 2 also addresses a detail revealed at the end of the prior season: Perry raped Jane during a one-night stand years ago and subsequently fathered her son, Ziggy (Iain Armitage). Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Big Little Lies Ponders What Makes a Man," 10 June 2019

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

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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