fa·​ther·​ly | \ ˈfä-t͟hər-lē How to pronounce fatherly (audio) \

Definition of fatherly

1 : of, relating to, or befitting a father fatherly responsibilities
2 : resembling a father (as in affection or care) a fatherly old man

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Other Words from fatherly

fatherliness \ ˈfä-​t͟hər-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce fatherliness (audio) \ noun
fatherly adverb

Examples of fatherly in a Sentence

He took a fatherly interest in the careers of younger writers.

Recent Examples on the Web

Now, Jenner is taking the movement even further by wearing yet another fatherly staple: the worn-in bomber jacket. Vogue, "Forget Dad Sneakers—Kendall Jenner Is Doing the Dad Jacket," 8 May 2019 Forget silhouette and comfort and fatherly values: dressing like a dad is a self-aware, irreverent, playful way to dress. Noah Johnson, GQ, "Help! I Dress Like My Dad," 16 June 2018 Behind the scenes, however, former players and staff remember him as a compassionate, fatherly, selfless boss who doted on his people. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Goodbye Swaggering CEOs; Hello Mr. Rogers," 3 Nov. 2018 Within minutes after hopping off the bus, she was approached by kindly gentlemen offering her protection, fatherly advice, drinks and hotel rooms. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "True crime: The 'dresser drawer murder' at the Claypool Hotel," 13 July 2018 Two investigators feigning fatherly concern fed Mr. Dassey crucial details and elicited a halting, mumbled and contradictory confession. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Was It a False Confession in ‘Making a Murderer’? The Supreme Court May Decide," 11 June 2018 In August 2016, when the two met in a final, in coral-grinding barrels at Teahupoo, Tahiti, Slater did everything but take Florence over his knee for a fatherly spanking on the way to an easy win. Matt Warshaw, Outside Online, "The Dominance of Kelly Slater," 5 July 2018 There’s non-stop action, though not for faint hearts, and never an unassuming hobbit or fatherly ent by way of relief. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: A New Novel Destined to Be a Classic," 28 June 2018 Some paternal lessons have stuck with Don, who tries still to parse the old fatherly instruction for the faintest wisdom. Julia Ioffe, GQ, "The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fatherly.' 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 fatherly

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

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Statistics for fatherly

Last Updated

16 May 2019

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Time Traveler for fatherly

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

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More Definitions for fatherly



English Language Learners Definition of fatherly

: of a father : resembling a father : showing the affection or concern of a father


fa·​ther·​ly | \ ˈfä-t͟hər-lē How to pronounce fatherly (audio) \

Kids Definition of fatherly

: of or like a father He gave me fatherly advice.

More from Merriam-Webster on fatherly

Spanish Central: Translation of fatherly

Nglish: Translation of fatherly for Spanish Speakers

Comments on fatherly

What made you want to look up fatherly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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