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

The auction house Profiles in History says the manuscript with handwritten notes from group’s founding fathers, sold to Irsay on Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Los Angeles. Washington Post, "Alcoholics Anonymous founding document sells for $2.4M," 5 May 2018 Hamilton’ with African-American actors because the founding fathers weren’t African-American. Tim Smith,, "Young Victorian Theatre Co. approaches 'Mikado' mindful of controversy," 6 July 2018 According to descendants of the founding father’s family, the flag was passed down by Washington’s sisters. Tommy Rowan,, "In time for Flag Day, George Washington's personal standard gets its debut at Philly museum," 13 June 2018 Second is the issue of religious Jews being able to opt out of national military service, an exemption founding father and Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion , put into place. Israel Kasnett, Jewish Journal, "Israel's haredi population: Is it growing or shrinking?," 5 June 2018 In 1784, just after the end of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton was the founding father of what is today the Bank of New York Mellon—the oldest company on this year’s Fortune 500, and one of four that can trace their roots to the 18th century. Nicolas Rapp, Fortune, "See the Age of Every Company in the Fortune 500," 21 May 2018 Environmentalists celebrate Roosevelt as the founding father of conservation and a wilderness warrior, and small business interests celebrate his battles against large corporations. Michael Patrick Cullinane, Smithsonian, "Why Teddy Roosevelt Is Popular On Both Sides of the Political Aisle," 24 Apr. 2018 But even with a history well-documented, mysteries still remain about the pistols that killed a founding father. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Duels, Blood, And Politics: The Little-Known History of the Gun That Killed Alexander Hamilton," 6 June 2018 Wright is also regarded as the founding father of the touchdown dance, first introducing a high-stepping end zone celebration against Florida in the 1969 season opener. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "Elmo Wright on ballot for College Football Hall of Fame," 4 June 2018

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

Share founding father

Statistics for founding father

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for founding father

The first known use of founding father was in 1886

See more words from the same year

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

See words that rhyme with founding father

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!