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


ancestor, father, forebear (also forbear), forebearer, grandfather, primogenitor, progenitor


descendant (also descendent)

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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

Eighty-five percent of the world’s mezcal production comes from the region, where centuries-old production techniques have been passed along from their forefathers. Popular Mechanics, "Burros, Stones, and Machetes: Here’s How Mezcal Is Distilled," 23 Aug. 2019 But the chorus of social media commentary tries to remove any blame from the country’s forefathers for the American version of the institution and its devastating consequences. Kelley Fanto Deetz, The Conversation, "Setting the historical record straight for the critics of The New York Times project on slavery in America," 23 Aug. 2019 American citizens are afforded liberties by our forefathers, because the founders of our nation had confidence in their posterity to use and protect them wisely. Joe Lonsdale, National Review, "Regulating Speech Won’t Fix Our Politics," 12 Aug. 2019 This gift our forefathers gave us, and that our armed forces have preserved for us at great and sometimes ultimate cost, is a goal that non-citizen immigrants should also strive to achieve., "Should Massachusetts cities and towns be allowed to extend the right to vote in local elections to legal non-citizens?," 10 Aug. 2019 Dan’s military forefathers dying in previous wars was shot on the last day of production, shot on a nearby rooftop where Jenny nearly commits suicide later in the film. Ben Flanagan |,, "35 fascinating facts about ‘Forrest Gump’," 25 June 2019 The rugby scrum is the forefather of American football’s offensive lines. Tod Leonard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Art of the scrum: Legion players explain rugby’s mysterious melee," 7 June 2019 The foundation of the Bullet Club was built of the shoulders of legendary forefathers Finn Balor and AJ Styles. Justin Barrasso,, "The Week in Wrestling: Tama Tonga Says Bullet Club Civil War ‘Has Been a Long Time Coming’," 11 July 2018 The two-in-one show sometimes coasted on a lot of nostalgia, including audience-baiting résumé shout-outs and a salute to other hip-hop forefathers during the Melle Mel and Scorpio set that culminated with a dance break soundtracked by Run-DMC. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 2: Marshmello, Nelly, Tory Lanez, Buckcherry and more," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for forefather

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for forefather

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

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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) \

Kids Definition of forefather

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Comments on forefather

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


concealment of treason or felony

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