Definition of paternal in English:


Syllabification: pa·ter·nal
Pronunciation: /pəˈtərnl


  • 1Of or appropriate to a father: he reasserted his paternal authority
    More example sentences
    • Her status in law compared with an adult son still living in his father's house, under paternal authority.
    • Needless to say, social life is charged with signs that affirm the paternal authority of those in power.
    • Western tradition dictated that that authority should be paternal.
    on one's father's side, patrilineal
  • 1.1Showing a kindness and care associated with a father; fatherly: my elders in the newsroom kept a paternal eye on me
    More example sentences
    • He denies feeling more paternal towards the dancers these days, but owns up to " avuncular".
    • His style with the crews is almost paternal, strong yet fair.
    • There was this strange feeling inside him as he held her, almost paternal, but not quite.
    fatherly, fatherlike, patriarchal; protective, solicitous, compassionate, sympathetic
  • 1.2 [attributive] Related through the father: his father and paternal grandfather were porcelain painters
    More example sentences
    • It was the fashion that the first son was named after the paternal grandfather and the second after the father and so on.
    • Iraqi Arabs have very long names, consisting of their first name, their father's name, their paternal grandfather's name, and finally their family name.
    • Seth's father, three uncles, and paternal grandfather, along with a number of cousins and subsequent generations of relatives, were carpenters.



More example sentences
  • It also entails the replacement, at least partially, of cold, ruthless, impartial legal discourse with a firm but paternally supportive discourse.
  • He is taller than me now, and likes to put his arm paternally around my shoulder.
  • The unequal expression in mammals of some maternally and paternally derived genes known as genomic imprinting reduces the masking benefits of diploidy.


late Middle English: from late Latin paternalis, from Latin paternus 'fatherly, belonging to a father', from pater 'father'.

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