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

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

Noun Her uncle is her godfather. Many people regard him as the godfather of rock and roll.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Allen’s godfather, Ray Arvizu, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday evening that Allen returning to Utah in 2021-22 remains a possibility, but that possibility is obviously related to who the next head coach is. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Timmy Allen, Utah’s All-Pac-12 forward, plans to enter transfer portal," 26 Mar. 2021 That tally includes his godfather, Dagoberto Martinez, who played the vihuela in his family band for 15 years. New York Times, "Mariachis Play On, Their Music Unsilenced by the Virus or the Deaths," 24 Mar. 2021 His godfather was William Walton, the English classical composer. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, "Pete Townshend on the Who’s Uncertain Future and the Legacy of ‘The Who Sell Out’," 16 Apr. 2021 But longtime friend Murphy (Hall is godfather to the comedian's oldest daughter, Bria) started thinking about a second movie four years ago, throwing ideas out to Hall. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Arsenio Hall treads on beloved comedy ground in 'Coming 2 America' with Eddie Murphy," 3 Mar. 2021 In many other ways, Rohmer was the movement’s godfather. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Looking Behind Éric Rohmer’s Cinematic Style," 24 Mar. 2021 Bob Cousy, godfather of all point guards, gave the world behind-the-back maneuvers and look-away passes while creating an entire mentality for that position. BostonGlobe.com, "Elgin Baylor was the most influential basketball player of the past 60 years," 23 Mar. 2021 Is anything lost when Victor Berger School, named for the godfather of Milwaukee Socialism, is renamed for Martin Luther King? John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Milwaukee's ever-changing street names have long been a way to express civic pride," 4 Mar. 2021 Even when this season’s controversy about frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell surfaced, Rachel went toe-to-toe with franchise godfather Chris Harrison on national television. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "It Sounds Like Rachel Lindsay Is Officially Done With Bachelor Nation," 23 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hawkins, godfather to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, took teammates to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum whenever in Kansas City, decades before MLB officially recognized the leagues. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Why I voted for LaTroy Hawkins on my Baseball Hall of Fame ballot," 25 Jan. 2021 Now Leroy could be dad first and coach second, while Lewis could be coach first and godfather second. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, "The World’s Fastest Family," 5 Oct. 2020 Hosted by Sean, 44, the two-part documentary about his dad — who was tragically murdered outside his New York City apartment on Dec.8, 1980 — also features memories from his elder brother, Julian Lennon, and godfather Elton John. Phil Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Paul McCartney Says He Feels 'Lucky' To Have Met John Lennon in Interview with Sean Ono Lennon," 23 Sep. 2020 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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Time Traveler for godfather

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

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Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Godfather.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/godfather. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for godfather



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

Comments on godfather

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