pa·ter·nal | \pə-ˈtər-nᵊl \

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

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Other Words from paternal

paternally \pə-ˈtər-nᵊl-ē \ adverb

Examples of paternal in a Sentence

He did not neglect his paternal responsibilities after the divorce.

Recent Examples on the Web

Like many Pawnee and Choctaw children, my paternal uppit (grandfather) and pokní (grandmother) were educated at Pawnee Indian School and Wheelock Academy, two of many Native boarding schools, respectively. Rory Taylor, Teen Vogue, "The Current Border Crisis Feels All Too Familiar for Indigenous Peoples in the United States," 12 July 2018 The opening swath is enormously enlivened by an eccentric party-thrower called Peter Charming, one of Gold’s mother’s beaus who becomes something of a paternal force for the young boy. William Giraldi, The Seattle Times, "Glen David Gold’s new memoir is ‘a soiree of heart-wreck wised up by humor’," 9 July 2018 These positions come with benefits such as maximum 20-week maternal/paternal leave, health insurance, disability insurance, and Career Choice — a program where Amazon offers up to 95 percent full coverage on in-demand related classes. Madelyn Dibley, Detroit Free Press, "Amazon holds hiring fair for Romulus distribution center," 3 July 2018 Last week, genealogy company Family Tree DNA removed all access to its free and public genetic tools and, which help genealogists track individuals through their paternal and maternal lines, respectively. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Key to Cracking Cold Cases Might Be Genealogy Sites," 1 June 2018 For example, one of Prince Charles's eight godparents included his paternal grandfather King George VI. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How Prince William and Kate Middleton Picked Prince Louis's Godparents," 9 July 2018 And my paternal grandfather, Papou Yianni, a young man with $5 in his pocket — his life’s savings — who used it to buy strawberries. John Kass,, "On Independence Day, thanking my family for coming to America," 3 July 2018 The fortune came from Michael Skakel's paternal grandfather, industrial magnate George Skakel, who died in 1957 in a plane crash with his wife, Ann. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Michael Skakel's Murder Conviction is Overturned After a Legal Effort That Drained His Family's Finances," 5 May 2018 He was predeceased by his paternal grandparents, Maryanne and Ronald Stanhope of Simsbury CT., "Bailey Scott Stanhope," 8 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for paternal

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of paternal

: of or relating to a father

: related through the father


pa·ter·nal | \pə-ˈtər-nᵊl \

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

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Comments on paternal

What made you want to look up paternal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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