founding father


Definition of founding father

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of founding father in a Sentence

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 Philosopher John Locke is credited with popularizing the idea amongst the founding fathers. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, "Why Democratic Candidates Keep Talking About Declaring a State of Emergency," 21 Dec. 2019 Set in rough-and-tumble contemporary New York City, this production features a dozen dancers, athletic hip-hop choreography, street moves, acrobatic break dancing and a show-opening set by hip-hop founding father Kurtis Blow. Greg Crawford,, "Detroit's Top 10: Cool things to do this weekend, including Mannheim Steamroller, Santarchy, 'Rise of Skywalker'," 18 Dec. 2019 Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un's grandfather and North Korea's founding father, is also believed to have led a cavalry unit against the Japanese occupation from a base on the mountain. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "North Korea warns US to prepare for 'Christmas gift,' but no one's sure what to expect," 4 Dec. 2019 Various Artists, Hamilton Original Cast Album (2015) Yes, this Broadway hip-hop redux is the story of America’s founding fathers, but the decade-dominating Hamilton is really an obsession with death and pain. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Greatest Albums of the 2010s: Staff Picks," 19 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, on the left, the once-mighty Labor party (six seats), whose members included many of Israel’s founding fathers, has withered in recent years as Netanyahu’s Likud has come to dominate the country’s politics. Zachary Evans, National Review, "Making Sense of Israel’s Post-Election Political Chaos," 20 Sep. 2019 One of the founding fathers of The Woodlands, Roger Galatas died on Aug. 29. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Year in Review: Local Woodlands figures who were in the news," 20 Dec. 2019 Most of the founding fathers were grad students at local universities. Myrna Petlicki,, "Muslim Community Center celebrates 50th anniversary," 11 Dec. 2019 Rothman is one of a small handful now fighting to remember the two men who arguably served as the founding fathers of America's domestic slave trade. Hannah Natanson, Anchorage Daily News, "They were once America’s cruelest, richest slave traders. Why does no one know their names?," 17 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'founding father.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of founding father

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about founding father

Time Traveler for founding father

Time Traveler

The first known use of founding father was in 1886

See more words from the same year

Statistics for founding father

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Founding father.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for founding father

founding father


English Language Learners Definition of founding father

: a person who helps to create or establish something : a person who founds something
: a man who had an important part in creating the government of the U.S. specifically : a member of the American Constitutional Convention of 1787

founding father

noun, often capitalized both Fs
found·​ing fa·​ther

Legal Definition of founding father

: a leading figure in the founding of the U.S. specifically : a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787

More from Merriam-Webster on founding father

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for founding father

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with founding father

Comments on founding father

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


experienced by way of someone else

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!