Fa'ther. n.s. [ꝼæðꞃ, Saxon; aoher, Erse. This word is found likewise in the Persian language.]
- He by whom the son or daughter is begotten.
Father is a notion superinduced to the substance, or man, and refers only to an act of that thing called man, whereby he contributed to the generation of one of his own kind. Locke.
Son of Bensalem, thy father saith it; the man by whom thou hast breath and life speaketh the word. Bacon.
He shall forget
Father and mother, and to his wife adhere. Milt. Pa. Lost.
- The first ancestor.
It was said
It should not stand in thy posterity;
But that myself should be the root and father
Of many kings. Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Abraham is the father of us all. Rom. iv. 16.
- The appellation of an old man.
A poor blind man was accounted cunning in prognosticating weather: Epsom, a lawyer, said in scorn, Tell me, father, when doth the sun change? The old man answered, when such a wicked lawyer as you goeth to heaven. Camden.
- The title of any man reverend for age, learning, and piety.
You shall find one well accompanied
With reverend fathers and well learned bishops. Sh. R III.
- One who has given original to any thing good or bad.
Jubal was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. Gen. iv. 21.
- The ecclesiastical writers of the first centuries.
Men may talk of the fathers, and magnify the fathers, and seem to make the authority of the fathers next to infallible; and yet none expose them more to contempt than they which give such answers as these. Stillingfleet.
- One who acts with paternal care and tenderness.
I was a father to the poor. Job xxix. 16.
He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house. Gen. xlv. 8.
- The title of a popish confessor, particularly of a Jesuit.
Formal in apparel,
In gait and countenance surely like a father. Shakespeare.
There was in this place a father of a convent, who was very much renowned for his piety and exemplary life; and as it is usual, under any great affliction, to apply themselves to the most eminent confessors, our beautiful votary took the opportunity of confessing herself to this celebrated father. Add.
- The title of a senator of old Rome.
From hence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestick Rome. Dryden's Virgil.
- The appellation of the first person of the adorable Trinity.
The eternal son of God esteemed it his meat and drink to do the will of his Father, and for his obedience alone obtained the greatest glory. Taylor's Rule of living holy.
- The compellation of God as Creator.
We have one Father, even God. John viii. 41.
Almighty and most merciful Father. Common Prayer.