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[fah-th er-lee] /ˈfɑ ðər li/
of, like, or befitting a father.
Obsolete. in the manner of a father.
Origin of fatherly
before 1000; Middle English faderly, Old English fæderlic. See father, -ly
Related forms
fatherliness, noun
pseudofatherly, adverb
unfatherly, adjective
1. Fatherly, paternal refer to the relationship of a male parent to his children. Fatherly has emotional connotations; it always suggests a kind, protective, tender, or forbearing attitude: fatherly advice. Paternal may suggest a kindly, proprietary attitude: paternal interest; but it may also be used objectively, as a legal and official term: his paternal grandmother; paternal estate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fatherly
  • He joins a college rock band and offers inept fatherly advice to younger students.
  • He treated his soldiers with a fatherly affection and respect, but was never patronizing.
  • Several children from his wives had also began to demand more fatherly guidance.
  • It could be a simple matter of not having as many eyes, particularly suspicious fatherly ones, watching over daughters.
  • Haas, in a fatherly way, shows he's one for the ages.
  • At times, some say, he could be warm and fatherly and generous.
  • He mentored with a demanding yet warm and fatherly style.
  • He has said that he has a fatherly relationship with his troops, and it shows in everything he does.
  • It can take comfort, too, that he will not be altogether out of its reach for fatherly advice.
  • Sometimes showing fatherly affection doesn't take much time at all.
British Dictionary definitions for fatherly


of, resembling, or suitable to a father
Derived Forms
fatherliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fatherly

Old English fæderlic; see from father (n.) + -ly (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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