Definitions

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

  • adj. Relating to or characteristic of a father or fatherhood; fatherly.
  • adj. Received or inherited from a father: a paternal trait.
  • adj. Related through one's father: my paternal aunt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to one's father, his genes, his relatives, or his side of a family; as, "paternal grandfather" (one's father's father).
  • adj. Fatherly; behaving as or characteristic of a father.
  • adj. Received or inherited from one's father.
  • adj. Acting as a father; as in "paternal filicide" (murder of a son committed by his father).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a father; fatherly; showing the disposition of a father; guiding or instructing as a father.
  • adj. Received or derived from a father; hereditary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to a father; proper to or characteristic of a father; fatherly: as, paternal care or affection; paternal favor or admonition.
  • Derived from the father; hereditary; as, a paternal estate.

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

  • adj. belonging to or inherited from one's father
  • adj. relating to or characteristic of or befitting a parent
  • adj. characteristic of a father
  • adj. related on the father's side

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin paternālis, from Latin paternus, from pater, father; see pəter- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French paternal ("of a father") (12c.), a learned borrowing from Vulgar Latin paternālis ("paternal"), from Classical Latin paternus ("of or pertaining to a father, paternal"), from pater ("father"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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