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.[3], 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, []
  9. (Christianity) A member of a church council.
    • 2003, Francis Oakley, The Conciliarist Tradition: Constitutionalism in the Catholic Church, 1300–1870, →ISBN, pages 37–8:
      In proceeding in this fashion, the fathers assembled at Pisa were following the generally accepted canonistic teaching of the day []
    • 2009, Peter Chidi Okuma, Empowerment of the Catholic Laity in the Nigerian Political Situation [], →ISBN, page 177:
      On the part of the fathers of the synod, over 50 bishops, from every continent, spoke on different ‘group forms’ of the lay apostolate, whereas about 38 fathers made their own interventions in writing to the General Secretary.
    • 2014, Ronald D. Witherup, The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum, →ISBN, page 31:
      Remember that the fathers of Vatican II had rejected the first draft of the constitution on revelation entirely.
  10. (computing) The archived older version of a file that immediately precedes the current version, and was itself derived from the grandfather.
    • 2004, Ray Bradley, The Ultimate Computing Glossary for Advanced Level (page 31)
      Three generations of file are usually kept, being the grandfather, father and son files.
    • 2007, O. Ray Whittington, Patrick R. Delaney, Wiley CPA Exam Review 2008: Auditing and Attestation (page 556)
      The file from which the father was developed with the transaction files of the appropriate day is the grandfather.




Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



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.
    • 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i], page 116, column 2:
      Thinke you, I am no ſtronger then my Sex / Being ſo Father'd, and ſo Husbanded?
    • 1906, James George Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, volume 2, page 209:
      The relations of the sexes were so loose and vague that children could not be fathered on any particular man.
  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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ Krapp, George Philip (1925) The English Language in America[1], volume II, New York: Century Co. for the Modern Language Association of America, →OCLC, pages 50-51.
  2. ^ Dobson, E. J. (1957) English pronunciation 1500-1700[2], volume II: Phonology, second edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, published 1968, →OCLC, § 6, page 467.


Middle EnglishEdit



  1. (Late Middle English) Alternative form of fader