father

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English fader, from Old English fæder, from Proto-Germanic *fadēr (compare West Frisian faar, North Frisian Faađer, Low German Fader, Dutch vader, German Vater, Danish fader, Norwegian and Swedish far), from Proto-Indo-European *ph₂tḗr (compare Irish athair, Tocharian A pācar, Tocharian B pācer, Persian پدر(pedar), Lithuanian patinas (male animal), akin to Latin pater, akin to Ancient Greek πατήρ (patḗr), akin to Armenian հայր (hayr), akin to Sanskrit पितृ (pitṛ, father)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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.
    • Bible, Proverbs x. 1
      A wise son maketh a glad father.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      When this conversation was repeated in detail within the hearing of the young woman in question, and undoubtedly for his benefit, Mr. Trevor threw shame to the winds and scandalized the Misses Brewster then and there by proclaiming his father to have been a country storekeeper.
    • 2010 April 7, Cécile Corbel (lyrics), Cécile Corbel and Simon Caby (music), “My First Borrowing”, in 借りぐらし Kari-gurashi [The Borrowers] (CD), Yamaha Music Communications, performed by Cécile Corbel:
      Father, dear father
      Will you be proud of me?
      I wish I could be
      Just like you.
  2. A male ancestor more remote than a parent; a progenitor; especially, a first ancestor.
    • Bible, 1 Kings ii. 10
      David slept with his fathers.
    • Bible, Rom. iv. 16
      Abraham, who is the father of us all
  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.
    • Shakespeare
      Bless you, good father friar!
  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.
    • Bible, Job xxix. 16
      I was a father to the poor.
    • Bible, Genesis xiv. 8
      He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house.
  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. A senator of Ancient Rome.

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Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Verb[edit]

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.
    • Shakespeare
      Think you I am no stronger than my sex, / Being so fathered and so husbanded?
  5. To adopt as one's own.
    • Jonathan Swift
      Men of wit / Often fathered what he writ.

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Middle English[edit]

Noun[edit]

father

  1. (Late Middle English) Alternative form of fader