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[fawr-fah-th er, fohr-] /ˈfɔrˌfɑ ðər, ˈfoʊr-/
an ancestor.
Origin of forefather
1250-1300; Middle English forefader. See fore-, father
Related forms
forefatherly, adjective
forebear, progenitor, patriarch, forerunner. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for forefather
Historical Examples
  • It remained upon the point of rock, and my forefather took it thence.

    Benita, An African Romance H. Rider Haggard
  • You see the further away your forefather is, the more the virtue.

    The Faith Doctor Edward Eggleston
  • "Well known is the name of Ragnar Lodbrok, my forefather," said the jarl.

    Wulfric the Weapon Thane Charles W. Whistler
  • Your forefather, who, in the revival of science, sought the secrets of Apollonius and Paracelsus.

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • This historian also adds that while one of the feet of our forefather rested on the mountain, the other was in the Indian ocean.

  • Orkins might be the forefather of a new race—a helluva race.

    The Whispering Spheres Russell Robert Winterbotham
  • It is said that in olden times the forefather of the Armenians had to flee for his life.

  • The white-eyed man was stationed at Lati,97 and is the forefather of all the people of Lati.

    The History of Sulu Najeeb M. Saleeby
  • Not every forefather of mine rests quiet beneath his escutcheoned marble.

    Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
  • As his forefather's fate was, so shall his be, for in both of them dwells the same spirit.

    The Wanderer's Necklace H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for forefather


an ancestor, esp a male
Derived Forms
forefatherly, adjective
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 forefather

"ancestor," c.1300, from fore- + father (n.); perhaps directly from Old Norse forfaðir.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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