What does paternal mean?

Definitions for paternal
pəˈtɜr nlpa·ter·nal

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. paternaladjective

    belonging to or inherited from one's father

    "spent his childhood on the paternal farm"; "paternal traits"

  2. paternaladjective

    characteristic of a father

  3. parental, maternal, paternaladjective

    relating to or characteristic of or befitting a parent

    "parental guidance"

  4. agnate, agnatic, paternaladjective

    related on the father's side

    "a paternal aunt"


  1. paternaladjective

    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).

  2. paternaladjective

    Fatherly; behaving as or characteristic of a father.

  3. paternaladjective

    Received or inherited from one's father.

  4. paternaladjective

    Acting as a father; as in "paternal filicide" (murder of a son committed by his father).

  5. Etymology: From paternal (12c.), a learned borrowing from paternalis, from Classical paternus, from pater.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Paternaladjective

    Etymology: paternus, Lat. paternel, Fr.

    I disclaim all my paternal care,
    Propinquity and property of blood;
    And as a stranger to my heart and me
    Hold thee. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Admonitions fraternal or paternal of his fellow christians or governors of the church. Henry Hammond.

    They spend their days in joy unblam’d; and dwell
    Long time in peace, by families and tribes,
    Under paternal rule. John Milton, Paradise Lost.

    Men plough with oxen of their own
    Their small paternal field of corn. Dryden.

    He held his paternal estate from the bounty of the conqueror. Dryden.

    Retreat betimes
    To thy paternal seat, the Sabine field,
    Where the great Cato toil’d with his own hands. Addison.


  1. paternal

    Paternal refers to anything pertaining to or characteristic of a father, including traits, characteristics, or items inherited from or related to one's father. It can also indicate a relationship traced through the father or male line. This term is often used in various social, biological, legal, and familial contexts.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Paternaladjective

    of or pertaining to a father; fatherly; showing the disposition of a father; guiding or instructing as a father; as, paternal care

  2. Paternaladjective

    received or derived from a father; hereditary; as, a paternal estate

  3. Etymology: [L. paternus, fr. pater a father: cf. F. paternel. See Father.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Paternal

    pa-tėr′nal, adj. fatherly: showing the disposition of a father: derived from a father: hereditary.—n. Pater′nalism.—adv. Pater′nally.—n. Pater′nity, state of being a father: fatherhood: the relation of a father to his children: origination or authorship. [Fr. paternel—Low L. paternalis—L. paternuspater (Gr. patēr), a father.]

Editors Contribution

  1. paternal

    The innate characteristic of a male human of being, acting and behaving like a responsible, just, fair and loving father.

    He is so paternal and loves his children with all his heart and soul.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 27, 2020  

Anagrams for paternal »

  1. parental

  2. prenatal

How to pronounce paternal?

How to say paternal in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of paternal in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of paternal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of paternal in a Sentence

  1. Joanna Kitlinska:

    Up to 75 percent of children with FASD have biological fathers who are alcoholics, suggesting that preconceptual paternal alcohol consumption negatively impacts their offspring.

  2. France Hirokazu Kore-eda:

    He's a strong paternal figure, I am pleased to be competing here with him.

  3. Leo Terrell:

    She has damaged her chances for future custodial rights, she disobeyed a court order to return the children. A writ of habeas corpus was filed by the ex-husband and granted by a New York Court ordering her to turn over the children to the paternal grandmother. Kelly received bad legal advice to defy the court order.

  4. Benjamin Disraeli:

    Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.

  5. Thomas Babington Macaulay:

    Nothing is so galling to a people not broken in from birth as a paternal, or, in other words, a meddling government, a government which tells them what to read, and say, and eat, and drink and wear.

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Translations for paternal

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"paternal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/paternal>.

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