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

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Other Words from paternal

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

Examples of paternal in a Sentence

He did not neglect his paternal responsibilities after the divorce.
Recent Examples on the Web He’s not Ward Cleaver, the perfect father, the paternal ideal. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Happy Father's Day to Bob Belcher of 'Bob's Burgers,' the best dad on TV," 19 June 2020 George’s father – former VP Biden’s paternal great-great-grandfather – was named Joseph H. Biden. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, "Fact Check: Joe Biden's great-grandfather didn't own slaves, fight for Confederacy," 11 June 2020 The Kansas frontier remained bloody during Curtis's time on the Kaw reservation, so much so that constant conflicts between warring tribes forced him to live with his paternal grandfather in Topeka. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "The first vice president of color was a Republican over 90 years ago," 16 June 2020 The paternal gaze can all too easily elide internal complexity in favor of external reactivity, seeing the daughter's actions not as a reflection of her own growth and legacy but of his. Julie Muncy, Wired, "Last of Us Part II Is Great, but Can't Escape Its Father's Shadow," 12 June 2020 His is a clueless, paternal sort of misogyny as compared to Trump’s oeuvre of degradation, contempt, and physical violence. Jess Mcintosh,, "Women Are Working Hard To Elect Joe Biden. Here’s What We Should Get In Return.," 17 Apr. 2020 Prior to his diagnosis last June, Snow the last 15 years witnessed ALS claim the lives of his father, two of his paternal uncles, and a cousin, ranging in age from 28 to 68. Kevin Paul Dupont,, "Faith, love, and an experimental treatment fuel Chris Snow’s battle with ALS," 25 Feb. 2020 Two of his paternal uncles and a 28-year-old cousin have also died after battling ALS. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Calgary Flames assistant GM Chris Snow diagnosed with ALS, his wife reveals in emotional letter," 19 Dec. 2019 Warfield was also the paternal uncle of Bessie Wallis Warfield, the future Duchess of Windsor, who christened the ship in 1927. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, "'The ship that launched a nation’: Iconic piece of nautical Baltimore history to be auctioned off in Missouri," 13 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for paternal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for paternal

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Paternal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for paternal


How to pronounce paternal (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on paternal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paternal

Spanish Central: Translation of paternal

Nglish: Translation of paternal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paternal for Arabic Speakers

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