from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A male person whose sperm unites with an egg, resulting in the conception of a child.
  • n. A man who adopts a child.
  • n. A man who raises a child.
  • n. A male parent of an animal.
  • n. A male ancestor.
  • n. A man who creates, originates, or founds something: Chaucer is considered the father of English poetry.
  • n. An early form; a prototype.
  • n. Christianity God.
  • n. Christianity The first person of the Christian Trinity.
  • n. An elderly or venerable man. Used as a title of respect.
  • n. A member of the senate in ancient Rome.
  • n. One of the leading men, as of a city: the town fathers.
  • n. A church father.
  • n. A priest or clergyman in the Roman Catholic or Anglican churches.
  • n. Used as a title and form of address with or without the clergyman's name.
  • transitive v. To procreate (offspring) as the male parent.
  • transitive v. To act or serve as a father to (a child).
  • transitive v. To create, found, or originate.
  • transitive v. To acknowledge responsibility for.
  • transitive v. To attribute the paternity, creation, or origin of.
  • transitive v. To assign falsely or unjustly; foist.
  • intransitive v. To act or serve as a father.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A male who sires (and often raises) a child.
  • n. A male donator of sperm which resulted in conception or fertilisation
  • n. A term of respectful address for an elderly man.
  • n. A term of respectful address for a priest.
  • n. A person who plays the role of a father in some way.
  • n. The founder of a discipline or science.
  • v. To be a father to; to sire.
  • v. To give rise to.
  • v. To act as a father; to support and nurture.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who has begotten a child, whether son or daughter; a generator; a male parent.
  • n. A male ancestor more remote than a parent; a progenitor; especially, a first ancestor; a founder of a race or family; -- in the plural, fathers, ancestors.
  • n. One who performs the offices of a parent by maintenance, affetionate care, counsel, or protection.
  • n. A respectful mode of address to an old man.
  • n. A senator of ancient Rome.
  • n. A dignitary of the church, a superior of a convent, a confessor (called also father confessor), or a priest; also, the eldest member of a profession, or of a legislative assembly, etc.
  • n. One of the chief ecclesiastical authorities of the first centuries after Christ; -- often spoken of collectively as the Fathers.
  • n. One who, or that which, gives origin; an originator; a producer, author, or contriver; the first to practice any art, profession, or occupation; a distinguished example or teacher.
  • n. The Supreme Being and Creator; God; in theology, the first person in the Trinity.
  • transitive v. To make one's self the father of; to beget.
  • transitive v. To take as one's own child; to adopt; hence, to assume as one's own work; to acknowledge one's self author of or responsible for (a statement, policy, etc.).
  • transitive v. To provide with a father.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. He who begets a child; the nearest male ancestor; a male parent: so called in relation to the child.
  • n. A male ancestor more remote than a parent; a lineal male ancestor, especially the first ancestor; the progenitor or founder of a race, family, or line: as, Ishmael was the father of the Bedouins of the desert.
  • n. One who through marriage or adoption occupies the position of a male parent; a father-in-law; a stepfather.
  • n. One who exercises paternal care over another; a fatherly protector or provider.
  • n. [capitalized] The Supreme Being.
  • n. [capitalized] In orthodox Christian phraseology, the first person of the Trinity.
  • n. A respectful title bestowed on a venerable man; an appellation of reverence or honor: as, Father Abraham.
  • n. A title given to dignitaries of the Roman Catholic and Eastern churches, to officers of monasteries and commonly to monks in general, and to confessors and priests.
  • n. A member of one of various Roman Catholic fraternities: as, Fathers of the Oratory, etc.
  • n. The title of a senator in ancient Rome. See conscript fathers, under conscript.
  • n. The eldest member of any profession, or of any body: as, father of the bar (the oldest practitioner of law); father of the House of Representatives or of the House of Commons (the man who has been a member of the body for the longest continuous period).
  • n. In universities, originally, a regent master fulfilling certain functions toward an inceptor; now, a fellow of a college appointed to attend a university examination in the interest of the students of that college.
  • n. One who creates, invents, originates, or establishes anything; the author, former, or contriver; a founder, director, or instructor; the first to practise any art; specifically, in the plural, the authors, founders, or first promoters of any great work, movement, or organization: as, Gutenberg was the father of printing; the fathers of the church (which see, below); the pilgrim fathers (see pilgrim); the fathers of the American Constitution.
  • n. In general, any real or apparent generating cause or source; that which gives rise to anything; a mainspring or moving element in a system or a process: as, “the boy is father of the man.”
  • To beget as a father; become the father or progenitor of.
  • To acknowledge or treat as a son or daughter; act as a father toward.
  • To assume as one's own; profess or acknowledge one's self to be the owner or author of.
  • To give a father to; furnish with a father.
  • To ascribe or charge to one as his offspring or production; fix the generation or authorship of: with on or upon.
  • n. The Sultan of Turkey.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person who holds an important or distinguished position in some organization
  • n. a person who founds or establishes some institution
  • n. `Father' is a term of address for priests in some churches (especially the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Catholic Church); `Padre' is frequently used in the military
  • n. the founder of a family
  • n. the head of an organized crime family
  • n. God when considered as the first person in the Trinity
  • v. make children
  • n. a male parent (also used as a term of address to your father)
  • n. (Christianity) any of about 70 theologians in the period from the 2nd to the 7th century whose writing established and confirmed official church doctrine; in the Roman Catholic Church some were later declared saints and became Doctor of the Church; the best known Latin Church Fathers are Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory the Great, and Jerome; those who wrote in Greek include Athanasius, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and John Chrysostom


Middle English fader, from Old English fæder; see pəter- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English fader, from Old English fæder, from Proto-Germanic *fadēr (cf. West Frisian faar, North Frisian faaðer, Low German Fader, Dutch vader, German Vater, Danish fader), from Proto-Indo-European *ph₂tḗr (cf. Irish athair, Tocharian A pācar, B pācer, Lithuanian patinas 'male animal'), akin to Latin pater, akin to Ancient Greek πατήρ (patēr), akin to Sankskrit पितृ (pitṛ, "father"). (Wiktionary)


  • A father might sell his children as servants, i.e. his _daughters_, in which circumstance it was understood the daughter was to be the wife or daughter-in-law of the man who bought her, and the _father_ received the price.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 1 of 4

  • A father might sell his children as servants, i.e., his _daughters_, in which circumstance it was understood the daughter was to be the wife or daughter-in-law of the man who bought her, and the _father_ received the price.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 1 of 4

  • "But, father," the Golden Maiden said -- she called him _father_ now and it pleased him mightily; "father, I should rather marry Janko!"

    The Laughing Prince Jugoslav Folk and Fairy Tales

  • "Do you mean to tell me," she inquired, with something approaching sternness, "that my father -- _my father_ -- was ever fond of poetry and -- and music, and -- and all that sort of thing?"

    With the Procession

  • 'My poor grandfather, Mr Palmer, to save a son, _my father_' -- this was said with infinite sadness -- 'yes, my father, from disgrace, borrowed a sum of money, a very large sum, from the old Squire.

    Bristol Bells A Story of the Eighteenth Century

  • I cannot conscientiously add _father_; for, at a certain early period of her history, the child showed a decided preference for her uncle over her father.

    The Vicar's Daughter

  • Christ, my Lord, had died for them as well as for me; and here was my father, — _my father_ — practically saying that they should not hear of it, nor know the message He had sent to them.


  • Christ, my Lord, had died for them as well as for me; and here was my father -- _my father_ -- practically saying that they should not hear of it, nor know the message He had sent to them.


  • The duties of a father are not the same as those of a son; is the word therefore wholly equivocal when we speak of one person as a _good father_, and another as a _good son_?

    The Philosophy of the Conditioned

  • But he was wrong, I did want a father, and every day the want became more pressing, and I found myself continually repeating the question, "_Who is my father_?"

    Japhet in Search of a Father


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