fore·​fa·​ther ˈfȯr-ˌfä-t͟hər How to pronounce forefather (audio)
: a person of an earlier period and common heritage

Examples of forefather in a Sentence

our forefathers bought this farm, and our family has worked it for three generations
Recent Examples on the Web Privileged, Mechner says, because unlike his forefathers, his childhood home still stands. Gene Park, Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2024 America’s forefathers even referenced this ancient code of law when writing the US Constitution, and both the Supreme Court and federal laws have validated this archaic legal framework, incorporating it into federal legislation. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 31 Mar. 2024 Formed in 1995, Kansas City natives the Get Up Kids are widely considered the forefathers of modern emo, with bands such as My Chemical Romance Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday counting them as a key influence. Spin Staff, SPIN, 15 Feb. 2024 That conflict pitted Cairo’s modern Army against determined tribesmen, the forefathers of the Houthis, who resented the intrusion of a foreign power and wanted a return to the imamate. Nicolas Niarchos, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2024 The cast of All in the Family paid tribute to the series' late forefather, legendary television producer Norman Lear, at the 2023 Emmys, which finally aired Monday night after a previous delay amid the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes last year., 15 Jan. 2024 Boas also established the International Journal of American Linguistics, and another of his students, Edward Sapir, went on to become one of the forefathers of the field of linguistics after studying Indigenous languages in the Americas. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 9 Jan. 2024 Gone are the manly traits of our forefathers: stoicism, reliability, strength, and dignity. Christian Schneider, National Review, 1 Feb. 2024 What more could our forefathers have envisioned as disqualifying acts for ever holding office again? Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Sun Sentinel, 8 Jan. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of forefather was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near forefather

Cite this Entry

“Forefather.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


fore·​fa·​ther ˈfō(ə)r-ˌfät͟h-ər How to pronounce forefather (audio)
: a person of an earlier period and similar culture

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