pa·​ter·​nal | \ pə-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce paternal (audio) \

Definition of paternal

1a : of or relating to a father offered his children some paternal advice paternal responsibilities
b : like that of a father paternal benevolence
2 : received or inherited from one's male parent lived and worked on his paternal farm
3 : related through one's father paternal grandfather

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from paternal

paternally \ pə-​ˈtər-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce paternal (audio) \ adverb

Examples of paternal in a Sentence

He did not neglect his paternal responsibilities after the divorce.
Recent Examples on the Web Both of her grandfathers served in the military – her maternal grandfather served in the Navy during WWII, and her paternal grandfather served in the Army Air Corps, flew in WWII, and in the Berlin Air Lift. Paula Davis, Forbes, 19 May 2021 The January death of her children's paternal grandfather from Covid-19 in Italy was the only reason they were allowed to connect in person with family members on that side in more than a year. Blane Bachelor, CNN, 2 May 2021 And Martina Pojarova, 48, is not Jewish at all, while her husband, Tomas, 47, has only distant Jewish roots in his paternal grandfather. Cnaan Liphshiz,, 29 Apr. 2021 The family name was originally Mundal, after the small town in Norway from which Mr. Mondale’s paternal great-grandfather, Frederick, came to southern Minnesota in 1856. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2021 There were three pictures of my paternal grandfather, Frank Moser, né Franz Moses, displayed in my childhood home. Laura Moser, The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2021 The connection was on the paternal side of the family, pointing to an uncle-nephew, half-sibling, double-cousin or grandparent-grandchild relationship. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Apr. 2021 Chris Blanchard, Blanchard's grandson, told the outlet the family was told a number of years ago the agency was attempting to identify his paternal grandfather's remains. Jason Duaine Hahn,, 25 Mar. 2021 And according to the elder Opoku, Nana’s maternal great-grandfather was close to 6-9, and his paternal grandfather exceeded 6 feet, which is considered tall in Ghanaian culture. Edward Lee,, 28 Feb. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for paternal

Middle English, from Late Latin paternalis, from Latin paternus paternal, from pater

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about paternal

Time Traveler for paternal

Time Traveler

The first known use of paternal was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for paternal

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Paternal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for paternal



English Language Learners Definition of paternal

: of or relating to a father
: related through the father


pa·​ter·​nal | \ pə-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce paternal (audio) \

Kids Definition of paternal

1 : of or like that of a father : fatherly "I wasn't offering it to you, Poliakoff," snapped Karkaroff, his warmly paternal air vanishing …— J. K. Rowling, Goblet of Fire
2 : related through the father my paternal cousins

Other Words from paternal

paternally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on paternal

Nglish: Translation of paternal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paternal for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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