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From Middle English godfader, from Old English godfæder (godfather), equivalent to god +‎ father. Cognate with Old Saxon godfadar (godfather), Middle Dutch godvader (godfather), Danish gudfader, gudfar (godfather), Swedish gudfader, gudfar (godfather), Icelandic guðfaðir (godfather).



godfather (plural godfathers)

  1. (Christianity) A man present at the christening of a baby who promises to help raise the child in a Christian manner; a male godparent who sponsors the baptism of a child.
  2. (figurative) Someone who plays a key role in fostering the development of something.
    • 2023 May 2, Josh Taylor, Alex Hern, “‘Godfather of AI’ Geoffrey Hinton quits Google and warns over dangers of misinformation”, in The Guardian[1], →ISSN:
      The man often touted as the godfather of AI has quit Google, citing concerns over the flood of misinformation, the possibility for AI to upend the job market, and the “existential risk” posed by the creation of a true digital intelligence.
  3. (crime) A mafia leader.
  4. A small post which is used in repairing a fence. For instance attached to and supporting an existing broken fence post.


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godfather (third-person singular simple present godfathers, present participle godfathering, simple past and past participle godfathered)

  1. (transitive, often figuratively) To act as godfather or guardian to.
    • 1996, Ann Lane, The Rise and Fall of the Grand Alliance, 1941–45, page 61:
      Hull objected violently that aid had not been used to extract commitments on postwar economic policy; the joint chiefs had wanted bases; others in the military still wanted Britain to play only a minor, if any, role in the Pacific; and they were all apparently angry at the Treasury for godfathering the Quebec Agreement.
    • 2006, Robert Evans, The Kid Stays in the Picture, page 5:
      But months before, he'd agreed to godfather the premiere of The Godfather.
    • 2007 August 3, John F. Burns, “At Hussein Grave, Legend Lives as Fury Simmers”, in New York Times[2]:
      The grave site, humble as it is, reflects something more than a hometown’s determination to honor a fallen son, something that seems irreducible in the politics of Iraq: the refusal of the Sunni minority, who ruled Iraq for centuries until Mr. Hussein’s overthrow, to reconcile themselves to the assumption of power by the Shiite majority who won elections godfathered by the American occupation authority.

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