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 In a recent letter to Smoot’s progeny and to BYU, leaders of the family argue that their forefather deserves to be remembered for all of his contributions, not just for being a slaveholder. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Descendants of slaveholder Smoot argue renaming BYU building ’accomplishes nothing’ in addressing racism," 2 Sep. 2020 Bayer AG, forefather of pharmaceuticals and creator of aspirin, was founded in Prussia. Rose Truesdale, Bon Appétit, "Burning Out on America...and My “Perfect” Wellness Routine," 25 Aug. 2020 Perhaps ekev reminds us of our forefather, Ya’akov (Jacob) who was so named because he was born holding the heel of his brother Esav (Esau). Rabbi Avi Weiss,, "Eikev parsha: What appears less important is of great importance," 3 Aug. 2020 The forefathers of America’s public spaces, like those of the nation itself, grounded their vision in these same sentiments. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Racist Gatekeepers of American Land," 29 May 2020 Cast me out in honor of the toil and tribulation of our forefathers. David Means, The New Yorker, "Are You Experienced?," 14 Oct. 2019 Our forefathers died in battle to serve our country. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: We must be positive without being foolish during coronavirus pandemic," 25 Mar. 2020 Another reason for the BJP’s adoption of Ambedkar’s legacy is that Hindu nationalism’s own political forefathers have a dark history of idolizing European fascist leaders like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Time, "As India’s Constitution Turns 70, Opposing Sides Fight to Claim Its Author as One of Their Own," 25 Jan. 2020 But for some reason, our forefathers, more than 200 years ago, carried over this tradition in creating the presidency, even though George Mason, considered the father of our Bill of Rights, objected vehemently. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: The presidential pardon may have run its course," 23 Feb. 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

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Forefather.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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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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