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

Noun Her uncle is her godfather. Many people regard him as the godfather of rock and roll.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Mexican head of the salt company was really like the godfather of central Baja. Ben Brazil, Daily Pilot, "Orange County philanthropist helped save crucial Mexican lagoon used by gray whales for breeding," 11 Oct. 2019 The epicenter of the festival is downtown Austin, just a few blocks from Darrell K Royal football stadium, the largest standing tribute to the godfather of this place. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "The Untold Story of the Desk of Texas's AD and an Unfinished Bottle of Jack Daniel's," 5 Sep. 2019 It was founded in 1977 and merged in 2011 with Young Americans for Freedom, a group launched in 1960 by one of the godfathers of the modern conservative movement, William F. Buckley. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Gov. Scott Walker to take the helm of conservative group, says he won't run for office in 2022," 15 July 2019 And David Chaum, a godfather of the crypto-anarchist movement that led to Bitcoin, launched his own new cryptocurrency. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "A Spy in the House of Byrne—The Ledger," 26 Aug. 2019 Prince Harry reportedly plays a special role in Lena's life, though his position as godfather has never been officially confirmed by the royal family. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Who Is Queen Elizabeth's Great-Granddaughter, Lena Tindall," 5 Aug. 2019 He was sacked from his first job in journalism, on the Times, for making up a quote from Sir Colin Lucas, Mr Kenny’s successor as master of Balliol, who also happened to be Mr Johnson’s godfather. The Economist, "What would Plato make of Boris Johnson?," 22 June 2019 James, the godfather of modern statistical analysis, did not win in 2001 either. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "Many try, but few finish, the world’s toughest baseball quiz," 17 Sep. 2019 The fiery ex-manager — also the godfather of Twins utility player Ehire Adrianza — believes the Twins haven’t changed their style as much as people might think. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Twins impressing far and wide as they smash home run mark," 31 Aug. 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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The first known use of godfather was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Godfather.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/godfathering. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for godfather


How to pronounce godfather (audio)

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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