See also: Father


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From Middle English fader, from Old English fæder, from Proto-West Germanic *fader, from Proto-Germanic *fadēr, from Proto-Indo-European *ph₂tḗr. Doublet of ayr, faeder, padre, pater, and père.



father (plural fathers)

  1. A (generally human) male who begets a child.
    My father was a strong influence on me.
    My friend Tony just became a father.
  2. A male ancestor more remote than a parent; a progenitor; especially, a first ancestor.
  3. A term of respectful address for an elderly man.
    Come, father; you can sit here.
  4. A term of respectful address for a priest.
  5. A person who plays the role of a father in some way.
    My brother was a father to me after my parents got divorced.
    The child is father to the man.
  6. The founder of a discipline or science.
    Albert Einstein is the father of modern physics.
  7. Something that is the greatest or most significant of its kind.
    • 1991, The Nairobi Law Monthly:
      Soon after the announcement of this year's election results, Mereka said that "the father of all battles had just begun." His dispute with Muite goes back to March last year []
    • 2002, Financial Management:
      "If UK GDP slows by 1 per cent, there is the mother and father of all recessions. It was exciting, but very bizarre, working in such an environment."
    • 2012, Zubairu Wai, Epistemologies of African Conflicts: Violence, Evolutionism, and the War in Sierra Leone, Palgrave Macmillan: (→ISBN), page 93:
      “The Father of All Battles”
      On March 23, 1991, a band of armed insurgents attacked the town of Bomaru []
  8. Something inanimate that begets.
    • 1649, Richard Lovelace, Amyntor's Grove, His Chloris, Arigo, and Gratiana. An Elogie.[1], Thomas Harper, page 88:
      But may the Sun and gentle weather, / When you are both growne ripe together, / Load you with fruit, ſuch as your Father / From you with all the joyes doth gather : / And may you when one branch is dead / Graft ſuch another in it's ſtead, []




Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


See father/translations § Noun.


father (third-person singular simple present fathers, present participle fathering, simple past and past participle fathered)

  1. To be a father to; to sire.
  2. (figuratively) To give rise to.
  3. To act as a father; to support and nurture.
  4. To provide with a father.
  5. To adopt as one's own.
    • 1713, Jonathan Swift, Imitation of Horace, Book I. Ep. VII.
      Kept company with men of wit / Who often fathered what he writ.


See father/translations § Verb.

See alsoEdit


Middle EnglishEdit



  1. (Late Middle English) Alternative form of fader