founding father


: an originator of an institution or movement : founder
often capitalized both Fs : a leading figure in the founding of the U.S.
specifically : a member of the American Constitutional Convention of 1787

Example Sentences

a tribute to Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and the other Founding Fathers Theodor Herzl is often credited as the founding father of modern Zionism.
Recent Examples on the Web Even David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s preeminent founding father, who served as the county’s first prime minister and ... Bobby Miller, National Review, 29 Apr. 2023 The Supreme Court adopted the founding father’s metaphor in a unanimous 1947 opinion by Justice Hugo Black. Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2022 Ken Burns directs Benjamin Franklin (8 p.m. Monday, PBS), a four-hour film about the founding father. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 30 Mar. 2022 The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, for example, is still awaiting adequate representation of Hollywood’s Jewish founding fathers. Chris Yogerst, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2023 For more than two centuries, hundreds of human bones have rested (in peace) under the London home of Benjamin Franklin — one of the founding fathers of the U.S. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 20 Mar. 2023 Finally, Alger found inspiration in the founding fathers of self-sufficiency, like Benjamin Franklin. Alissa Quart, Rolling Stone, 14 Mar. 2023 The arguable founding father of the streetwear aesthetic of fashion Karl Kani was honored with a lifetime achievement award. Cassell Ferere, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2023 The Craig Noel Awards, named after the Old Globe’s first artistic director who’s widely recognized as the founding father of San Diego’s professional theater community, were launched in 2002, with an annual awards ceremony that drew as many as 450 people in years past. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'founding father.' 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

1892, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of founding father was in 1892

Dictionary Entries Near founding father

Cite this Entry

“Founding father.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

founding father

found·​ing father
: one that starts or helps to start an institution or a movement
often capitalized : a leading figure in the founding of the U.S.

Legal Definition

founding father

found·​ing fa·​ther
often capitalized both Fs
: a leading figure in the founding of the U.S.
specifically : a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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