a male parent.
a father-in-law, stepfather, or adoptive father.
any male ancestor, especially the founder of a race, family, or line; progenitor.
a man who exercises paternal care over other persons; paternal protector or provider: a father to the poor.
a person who has originated or established something: the father of modern psychology; the founding fathers.
a precursor, prototype, or early form: The horseless carriage was the father of the modern automobile.
one of the leading men in a city, town, etc.: a scandal involving several of the city fathers.
Chiefly British. the oldest member of a society, profession, etc. Compare dean1 ( def 3 ).
a priest.
(initial capital letter) Theology. the Supreme Being and Creator; God.
a title of respect for an elderly man.
the Father, Theology. the first person of the Trinity.
Also called church father. Church History. any of the chief early Christian writers, whose works are the main sources for the history, doctrines, and observances of the church in the early ages.
(often initial capital letter) a title of reverence, as for church dignitaries, officers of monasteries, monks, confessors, and especially priests.
a person bearing this title.
fathers, Roman History, conscript fathers.
verb (used with object)
to beget.
to be the creator, founder, or author of; originate.
to act as a father toward.
to acknowledge oneself the father of.
to assume as one's own; take the responsibility of.
to charge with the begetting of.
verb (used without object)
to perform the tasks or duties of a male parent; act paternally: Somehow he was able to write a book while fathering.

before 900; Middle English fader, Old English fæder; cognate with German Vater, Latin pater, Greek patḗr, Sanskrit pitar, Old Irish athir, Armenian hayr

fatherlike, adjective

farther, *farer, father, further (see usage note at farther).
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
father (ˈfɑːðə)
1.  a male parent
2.  a person who founds a line or family; forefather
3.  any male acting in a paternal capacityRelated: paternal
4.  (often capital) a respectful term of address for an old man
5.  a male who originates something: the father of modern psychology
6.  a leader of an association, council, etc; elder: a city father
7.  (Brit) the eldest or most senior member in a society, profession, etc: father of the bar
8.  (often plural) a senator or patrician in ancient Rome
9.  informal the father of a very large, severe, etc, example of a specified kind: the father of a whipping
vb (foll by on or upon)
10.  to procreate or generate (offspring); beget
11.  to create, found, originate, etc
12.  to act as a father to
13.  to acknowledge oneself as father or originator of
14.  to impose or place without a just reason
Related: paternal
[Old English fæder; related to Old Norse fathir, Old Frisian feder, Old High German fater, Latin pater, Greek patēr, Sanskrit pitr]

Father (ˈfɑːðə)
1.  God, esp when considered as the first person of the Christian Trinity
2.  Also called: Church Father any of the writers on Christian doctrine of the pre-Scholastic period
3.  a title used for Christian priests

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. fæder, from P.Gmc. *fader (cf. O.N. faðir, Ger. vater), from PIE *p@ter (cf. Skt. pitar-, Gk. pater, L. pater, O.Pers. pita, O.Ir. athir "father"), presumably from baby-speak sound like pa. The classic example of Grimm's Law, where PIE "p-" becomes Gmc. "f-." Spelling with -th- (16c.)
reflects widespread phonetic shift in M.E. that turned -der to -ther in many words; spelling caught up to pronunciation in 1500s (cf. burden, murder). Fatherland (1623) is usually a loan-transl. of Ger. Vaterland, itself a loan-transl. of L. patria (terra), lit. "father's land." Father's Day dates back to 1910 in Spokane, Wash., but was not widespread until 1943, in imitation of Mother's Day.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Father definition

a name applied (1) to any ancestor (Deut. 1:11; 1 Kings 15:11; Matt. 3:9; 23:30, etc.); and (2) as a title of respect to a chief, ruler, or elder, etc. (Judg. 17:10; 18:19; 1 Sam. 10:12; 2 Kings 2:12; Matt. 23:9, etc.). (3) The author or beginner of anything is also so called; e.g., Jabal and Jubal (Gen. 4:20, 21; comp. Job 38:28). Applied to God (Ex. 4:22; Deut. 32:6; 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 89:27, 28, etc.). (1.) As denoting his covenant relation to the Jews (Jer. 31:9; Isa. 63:16; 64:8; John 8:41, etc.). (2.) Believers are called God's "sons" (John 1:12; Rom. 8:16; Matt. 6:4, 8, 15, 18; 10:20, 29). They also call him "Father" (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:4)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see like father, like son.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
My elderly father would have died without a kidney donor.
But when her father got sick, she was too short on time and money to focus on
  her education.
If the aspirants appear unready, their spiritual father will urge them to go
My father used to come back home from work, sleep then go back to work.
Idioms & Phrases
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