What does father mean?

Definitions for father
ˈfɑ ðərfa·ther

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word father.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. father, male parent, begetternoun

    a male parent (also used as a term of address to your father)

    "his father was born in Atlanta"

  2. forefather, father, sirenoun

    the founder of a family

    "keep the faith of our forefathers"

  3. Father, Padrenoun

    `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

  4. Church Father, Father of the Church, Fathernoun

    (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

  5. fathernoun

    a person who holds an important or distinguished position in some organization

    "the tennis fathers ruled in her favor"; "the city fathers endorsed the proposal"

  6. Father, Father-God, Fatherhoodnoun

    God when considered as the first person in the Trinity

    "hear our prayers, Heavenly Father"

  7. founder, beginner, founding father, fathernoun

    a person who founds or establishes some institution

    "George Washington is the father of his country"

  8. don, fatherverb

    the head of an organized crime family

  9. beget, get, engender, father, mother, sire, generate, bring forthverb

    make children

    "Abraham begot Isaac"; "Men often father children but don't recognize them"


  1. fathernoun

    A male who sires (and often raises) a child.

    My father was a strong influence on me.

  2. fathernoun

    A male donator of sperm which resulted in conception or fertilisation

  3. fathernoun

    A term of address for an elderly man.

    Come, father; you can sit here.

  4. fathernoun

    A person who plays the role of a father in some way.

  5. fathernoun

    The founder of a discipline or science.

    Albert Einstein is the father of modern physics.

  6. fatherverb

    To be a father to; to sire.

  7. fatherverb

    To give rise to.

  8. fatherverb

    To act as a father; to support and nurture.

  9. Fathernoun

    God, the father of Creation

  10. Fathernoun

    A title given to priests.

    Father Thomas was a good priest.

  11. Fathernoun

    One's father

    I will only do what Father asks.

  12. Fathernoun

    One of the triune gods of the Horned God in Wicca alongside the Master and Sage and representing a man; younger than a Sage and older than a Master

  13. Etymology: From fader, from fæder, from fadēr (cf. East Frisian foar, Dutch vader, German Vater), from ph₂tḗr (cf. Irish athair, Tocharian A pācar, B pācer, Lithuanian patinas 'male animal'), akin to pater, akin to Ancient Greek πατήρ.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. FATHERnoun

    Etymology: fæðer, Saxon; aaher, Erse. This word is found likewise in the Persian language.

    Father is a notion superinduced to the substance, or man, and refers only to an act of that thing called man, whereby he contributed to the generation of one of his own kind. John Locke.

    Son of Bensalem, thy father saith it; the man by whom thou hast breath and life speaketh the word. Francis Bacon.

    He shall forget
    Father and mother, and to his wife adhere. John Milton, Pa. Lost.

    It was said
    It should not stand in thy posterity;
    But that myself should be the root and father
    Of many kings. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Abraham is the father of us all. Rom. iv. 16.

    A poor blind man was accounted cunning in prognosticating weather: Epsom, a lawyer, said in scorn, Tell me, father, when doth the sun change? The old man answered, when such a wicked lawyer as you goeth to heaven. William Camden.

    You shall find one well accompanied
    With reverend fathers and well learned bishops. William Shakespeare, R. III.

    Jubal was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. Gen. iv. 21.

    Men may talk of the fathers, and magnify the fathers, and seem to make the authority of the fathers next to infallible; and yet none expose them more to contempt than they which give such answers as these. Edward Stillingfleet.

    I was a father to the poor. Job xxix. 16.

    He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house Gen. xlv. 8.

    Formal in apparel,
    In gait and countenance surely like a father. William Shakespeare.

    There was in this place a father of a convent, who was very much renowned for his piety and exemplary life; and as it is usual, under any great affliction, to apply themselves to the most eminent confessors, our beautiful votary took the opportunity of confessing herself to this celebrated father. Add.

    From hence the race of Alban fathers come,
    And the long glories of majestick Rome. John Dryden, Virgil.

    The eternal son of God esteemed it his meat and drink to do the will of his Father, and for his obedience alone obtained the greatest glory. Jeremy Taylor, Rule of living holy.

    We have one Father, even God. John viii. 41.

    Almighty and most merciful Father. Common Prayer.

  2. To FATHERverb

    Ay, good youth,
    And rather father thee than master thee. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    I am no stronger than my sex,
    Being so father’d and so husbanded. William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar.

    How light and portable my pain seems now,
    When that which makes me bend makes the king bow;
    He childed as I father’d. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Men of wit,
    Often father’d what he writ Jonathan Swift.

    And lest we seem to father any thing upon them more than is their own, let them read. Richard Hooker, b. iv. s. 4.

    My name was made use of by several persons, one of which was pleased to father on me a new set of productions. Jonathan Swift.

    Magical relations comprehend effects derived and fathered upon hidden qualities, whereof, from received grounds of art, no reasons are derived. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours, b. ii. c. 3.


  1. Father

    Father and Son is a popular song written and performed by English singer-songwriter Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam) on his 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman. The song frames a heartbreaking exchange between a father not understanding a son's desire to break away and shape a new life, and the son who cannot really explain himself but knows that it is time for him to seek his own destiny. Stevens sings in a deeper register for the father's lines, while using a higher one for those of the son. Additionally, there are backing vocals provided by Stevens' guitarist and friend Alun Davies beginning mid-song, singing an unusual chorus of simple refrains.


  1. father

    A father is a male parent who either biologically or legally creates or raises a child. He typically provides physical and emotional support, guidance, and protection to their child or children. Fathers play an important role in a family's dynamics and are often seen as a source of love, discipline, and authority.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Fathernoun

    one who has begotten a child, whether son or daughter; a generator; a male parent

  2. Fathernoun

    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

  3. Fathernoun

    one who performs the offices of a parent by maintenance, affetionate care, counsel, or protection

  4. Fathernoun

    a respectful mode of address to an old man

  5. Fathernoun

    a senator of ancient Rome

  6. Fathernoun

    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

  7. Fathernoun

    one of the chief esslesiastical authorities of the first centuries after Christ; -- often spoken of collectively as the Fathers; as, the Latin, Greek, or apostolic Fathers

  8. Fathernoun

    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

  9. Fathernoun

    the Supreme Being and Creator; God; in theology, the first person in the Trinity

  10. Fatherverb

    to make one's self the father of; to beget

  11. Fatherverb

    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.)

  12. Fatherverb

    to provide with a father

  13. Etymology: [OE. fader, AS. fder; akin to OS. fadar, D. vader, OHG. fatar, G. vater, Icel. fair Sw. & Dan. fader, OIr. athir, L. pater, Gr. path`r, Skr. pitr, perh. fr. Skr. p protect. 75, 247. Cf. Papa, Paternal, Patriot, Potential, Pablum.]


  1. Father

    A father is a male parent or Individual progenitor of human offspring. The adjective "paternal" refers to a father and comparatively to "maternal" for a mother. The verb "to father" means to procreate or to sire a child from which also derives the gerund "fathering". Fathers determine the gender of their child through a sperm cell which either contains an X chromosome, or Y chromosome. Related terms of endearment are dad, daddy, pa, papa, pop and pops

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Father

    fä′thėr, n. a male parent: an ancestor or forefather: a fatherly protector: a contriver or originator: a title of respect applied to a venerable man, to confessors, monks, priests, &c.: a member of certain fraternities, as 'Fathers of the Oratory,' &c.: the oldest member of any profession or other body: one of a group of ecclesiastical writers of the early centuries, usually ending with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine: the first person of the Trinity.—v.t. to adopt: to ascribe to one as his offspring or production.—ns. Fa′therhood, state of being a father: fatherly authority; Fa′ther-in-law, the father of one's husband or wife; Fa′therland, the land of one's fathers—from the Ger. Vaterland; Fa′ther-lash′er, a name applied to two bull-heads found on the British coasts, belonging to the Gurnard family.—adj. Fa′therless, destitute of a living father: without a known author.—ns. Fa′therlessness; Fa′therliness.—adj. Fa′therly, like a father in affection and care: paternal.—n. Fa′thership.—Holy Father, the Pope.—Be gathered to one's fathers (B.), to die and be buried. [A.S. fæder; Ger. vater, L. pater, Gr. patēr.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. father

    The dockyard name given to the person who constructs a ship of the navy.

Editors Contribution

  1. father

    A male parent with a paternal instinct who chooses to act with unconditional love, unity, peace and is nonjudgmental and nurturing.

    Their father is a beautiful soul, expressing love and understanding for all human beings.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 8, 2020  

  2. father

    The natural ability, qualities and acts of every father to give and share love, nurture, provide and contribute to development of their child or children in a nonjudgmental, fair and just way and to create a united family environment where their child or children have a positive, peaceful and loving relationship with their mother and all their family members

    Every father and mother has the role to unify the family where required.

    Submitted by MaryC on August 21, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'father' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #368

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'father' in Written Corpus Frequency: #604

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'father' in Nouns Frequency: #117

Anagrams for father »

  1. fareth

  2. afther

  3. hafter

  4. freath

How to pronounce father?

How to say father in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of father in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of father in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of father in a Sentence

  1. Rachel Dolezal:

    Any man can be a father, not every man can be a dad.

  2. Robert Blecker:

    She needs to have them look at him not as this one-dimensional monster, but as a multi-dimensional human being who had a difficult childhood with divorcing parents from another country whose brother became a surrogate father.

  3. Chuck Peruto:

    He believed the world was evil, he wanted to have a race of people with a Black mother and a White father where they would have no contact with the outside world and solely rely on his teachings. He literally would have church services when the girls were tied up in his basement.

  4. Franco Zeffirelli:

    My father is in poor health and not able to understand this attack and to respond to the allegations made by Jonathan Schaech, this would be an attack to a great director, an artist and to a man at the end of his life that he is not able, nor he will be in the future able to respond. This will be an incredible damage to his image and reputation on the basis of allegations which are not credible and cannot be proved.

  5. Allen Thomas:

    I guess you would call it a miracle, but I believe that was due to us doing our father-son dance routines.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for father

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for father »


Find a translation for the father definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"father." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 5 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/father>.

Discuss these father definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for father? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    applied to a fish depicted horizontally
    • A. motile
    • B. splay
    • C. valetudinarian
    • D. naiant

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for father: