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Definition of Father

(noun) A male parent of a child.

Examples of Father

Father Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: fa·ther

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /fAHTH-uhr/
  • British English – /fAHTH-uh/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈfɑðər/
  • British English – /ˈfɑːðə/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: fathers
  • A father-in-law is a father by marriage (affinity) instead of blood (consanguinity); the father of your spouse.
  • A single father (single-father) is a man raising children without a partner.
  • A stepfather (step-father) is the non-birth father of an individual.
  • A surrogate father sires a child for another individual.
  • Misopaterism is the hatred of one’s father, patricide is killing one’s father; and filicide is killing one’s children.
  • An individual’s biological father is called a genitor.
  • The female equivalent of a father is a mother.
  • The term (adjective) paternal means relating to an individual’s father. A paternal aunt, paternal uncle, paternal cousin, paternal grandfather, and paternal grandmother are relatives from your father’s side. Additionally, (noun) paternalism is treating an individual in a fatherly manner or (adverb) paternalistically.
  • Informally called:
    • dad
    • dada
    • daddy
    • old man
    • pa
    • papa
    • pappa
    • pop
  • Also called:
    • begetter
    • male parent
    • sire
  • A father (verb) fatherschild by (verb) fathering during (noun) fatherhood and is (adjective) father-like or (adjective) fathery and (adverb) fatherly exhibits (noun) fatherliness.

Related Quotation

  • “Patriarchy literally means ‘rule of the fathers’ and comes from the Old Testament—all power was given to male elders. Today, its meaning is more general: male domination of all the major institutions of society including government, religion, education, the economy, the military and the media” (Kaufman and Kimmel 2011:112).

Related Video

Additional Information

Related Terms


Kaufman, Michael, and Michael S. Kimmel. 2011. The Guy’s Guide to Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

Cite the Definition of Father

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “father.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/father/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

father. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/father/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “father.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/father/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“father.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/father/>.