god·​fa·​ther | \ ˈgäd-ˌfä-t͟hər also ˈgȯd- How to pronounce godfather (audio) \

Definition of godfather

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a man who sponsors a person at baptism
2 : one having a relation to someone or something analogous to that of a male sponsor to his godchild: such as
a : one that founds, supports, or inspires made him the godfather of a whole generation of rebelsThe Times Literary Supplement (London)
b : the leader of an organized crime syndicate


godfathered; godfathering; godfathers

Definition of godfather (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to act as godfather to

Examples of godfather in a Sentence


Her uncle is her godfather. Many people regard him as the godfather of rock and roll.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Only now, under Nicky, the nation’s first black godfather dictated to them. Webster Stone, WSJ, "The Quiet Death of a Notorious Harlem Drug Kingpin," 21 June 2019 Saul Kassin is one of the godfathers of the innocence movement. Douglas Starr, Science | AAAS, "This psychologist explains why people confess to crimes they didn’t commit," 13 June 2019 Some of Tokyo’s most respected barmen—such as High Five’s Hidetsugu Ueno and Land Bart Artisan’s Daisuke Ito—honed their skills here, under the watchful eye of owner Hisashi Kishida, one of the godfathers of Japanese bartending. Melinda Joe, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Bars in Tokyo," 27 Feb. 2018 All of us dreaming of a Mindy and B.J. coupling will have to keep swooning over their inimitable Instagram/Twitter banter (does Cookie Monster really have a wife?!), and rest easy knowing B.J. is one epic godfather. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Mindy Kaling Reveals She's So Close With B.J. Novak, He's Her Daughter's Godfather," 3 May 2019 When El Chapo asked to be the godfather to his newborn son, Mr. Martínez didn’t hesitate. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Help! My Boss Is El Chapo," 12 Jan. 2019 Thomas van Straubenzee, Charlie’s older brother who goes by the nickname Vans, is the godfather to Princess Charlotte. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Who Is Charlie van Straubenzee? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Set to Attend His Wedding," 4 Aug. 2018 At the same time, a romance is developing between Jamie’s godfather Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) and his Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy). Marie Claire, "'Outlander' Season 4 Finale Recap: 5 Biggest Takeaways," 28 Jan. 2019 Once upon a time, the title of godmother or godfather was a quasi-religious position, used for the most part in Christian communities to signal that the person who took on the title was expected to act as spiritual guardian to the child. Marris Adikwu, Glamour, ""Will You Be My...Godparent?" How a Religious Rite of Passage Swept Social Media," 2 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The new generation of progressives in the city, godfathered by Garcia, and represented in the March elections by Alma Anaya, Aaron Ortiz, and Beatriz Frausto, is a force to be reckoned with within the party. Jacqueline Serrato, chicagotribune.com, "Garcia ally wants to move the Democratic party in a new direction," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'godfather.' 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 godfather


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1651, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for godfather

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for godfather

The first known use of godfather was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of godfather

: a man who is a godparent
: a man who invents or begins something
: the leader of a group of criminals who belong to a secret criminal organization (such as the Mafia)


god·​fa·​ther | \ ˈgäd-ˌfä-t͟hər How to pronounce godfather (audio) \

Kids Definition of godfather

: a boy or man who is a sponsor for someone at baptism

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More from Merriam-Webster on godfather

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with godfather

Spanish Central: Translation of godfather

Nglish: Translation of godfather for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about godfather

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