fore·​fa·​ther | \ ˈfȯr-ˌfä-t͟hər How to pronounce forefather (audio) \

Definition of forefather

2 : a person of an earlier period and common heritage

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Synonyms & Antonyms for forefather



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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 Even the forefather of affect research raised the possibility that interpreting facial displays depends on social and cultural context. Kate Crawford, The Atlantic, "Why We Shouldn’t Trust AI to Tell Us What We Feel," 27 Apr. 2021 For example, Gates follows several Instagrammers who scan images from the pages of their personal magazine archives, a fun dynamism between new-age digital media and its forefather, print. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "How Instagram Has Made Vintage Design Pieces Iconic Again," 2 Apr. 2021 Like his spiritual forefather Michael Bay, Snyder is a visionary action filmmaker who conceives blockbusters with an utterly original aesthetic and sensibility. Tim Grierson, Vulture, "Every DC Comics Movie, Ranked," 22 Mar. 2021 After the meeting in Najaf, the pope spoke at an interfaith event at the archaeological site of ancient Ur, traditionally believed to be the home of Abraham, forefather of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Pope Francis Meets Iraqi Shiite Leader, Seeking to Build Ties With Islam," 6 Mar. 2021 Tradition holds that Abraham — the forefather of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other related sects — was born there. Washington Post, "Why the pope’s visit matters for Iraq’s Christians," 5 Mar. 2021 The RAV4′s forefather was the iconic Prius, which put hybrids on the map. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Moving day in the worry-free Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (review)," 13 Feb. 2021 In the mid-20th century, the Forest Service tackled wildfires as its forefather the Army had, as a military campaign—total domination. Jeff Winkler, The Atlantic, "The Art of Cooking While Everything Burns," 30 Dec. 2020 He is viewed as a forefather of the civil rights movement. Brooklyn White, Essence, "Marcus Garvey's Son Passes Away At Age 90," 17 Dec. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Forefather.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of forefather

: a person (especially a man) who was in your family in past times
: a person (especially a man) from an earlier time who helped to create or start something modern or important


fore·​fa·​ther | \ ˈfȯr-ˌfä-t͟hər How to pronounce forefather (audio) \

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