From Middle English forefader, forfader, vorvader, from Old English fōrefæder (“forefather”), but possibly also merged with Old Norse forfaðir. Equivalent to fore- + father. Compare Dutch voorvader (“forefather”), German Vorvater, Vorvahr (“forefather”), Danish forfader (“forefather”), Swedish förfader (“forefather”).
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: fôʹfä'thə, IPA(key): /ˈfɔːˌfɑːðə/
- (General American) enPR: fôrʹfä'thər, IPA(key): /ˈfɔɹˌfɑːðɚ/
forefather (plural forefathers)
1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter II, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 4241346:
- His forefathers had been, as a rule, professional men—physicians and lawyers; his grandfather died under the walls of Chapultepec Castle while twisting a tourniquet for a cursing dragoon; an uncle remained indefinitely at Malvern Hill; an only brother at Montauk Point having sickened in the trenches before Santiago.
- Cultural ancestor; one who originated an idea or tradition.