Definition of godfather in English:



  • 1A man who presents a child at baptism and promises to take responsibility for their religious education.

    ‘he is godfather to her son’
    • ‘He was a godfather to a dozen kids, and lavished them all with expensive gifts.’
    • ‘You can name just one godparent, or two godmothers or godfathers.’
    • ‘According to Guyanese tradition, a female child will have two godmothers and one godfather, and a male child will have two godfathers and one godmother.’
    • ‘It's been a busy week for the pop star as he was named as the godfather to fellow star Bryan McFadden's newborn baby.’
    • ‘I am one hundred percent sure that Luisa made a bargain in exchange that she'll get her godfather to get them a gig at his club.’
    • ‘Stranger still, he was the godfather to Nelson's son, who was now also his brother-in-law.’
    • ‘When the godson was in high school, the godfather contacted him by e-mail.’
    • ‘Grant, the actress's ex-boyfriend, who remains a close friend, has denied claims he would be godfather to the baby.’
    • ‘During his career, Roger once shared a flat with former England captain David Gower, who is the godfather to Roger's oldest son, George.’
    • ‘He was my best friend and I was the godfather to his kids and he was the godfather to my kids and we did things together on the road and off the road.’
    • ‘The Applicant is godfather to three in each family.’
    • ‘She died in her early 60s but Hislop is godfather to the friend's daughter.’
    • ‘Sutton was such a close friend of her parents that he was godfather to another of their children.’
    • ‘He went on, explaining how he is the godfather to his dead friend's children, and how he was worrying about them.’
    • ‘And this calls for a toast to the man who did it all alone without a godfather to ride on.’
    • ‘He remains close friends with Redgrave and is a godfather to both his and Cracknell's children.’
    • ‘Venables has made Graham a godfather to his daughter.’
    • ‘Being rich, he thought that the solution would be to buy a child, so he went to Jan, remembering that strange day when Jan had suggested that he be the godfather to his new boy.’
    • ‘So when my sister casually turned to me at Christmas and asked if I would be the godfather to her baby, I quickly agreed without really thinking about it.’
    • ‘Richard said his nephew - who was godfather to his own son - usually kept quiet about details of his job, which he says involved dealing with high-security communications between foreign embassies.’
  • 2A man who is influential or pioneering in a movement or organization.

    ‘the godfather of alternative comedy’
    • ‘The guiding musical spirit and godfather to the whole project is conductor Valery Gergiev, who brings out all the mordancy and instrumental color suggested by the notes.’
    • ‘And then there's Kraftwerk, godfathers of the movement.’
    • ‘He acknowledged Ernest's roll as godfather of the movement and Ernest stayed involved for a number of years.’
    • ‘Lanegan is one of the original godfathers of that long ago Seattle grunge movement - it is a compliment to QOTSA's lack of ego that he is allowed to play such a large part in proceedings.’
    • ‘‘The history of professional planning is a litany of failure,’ says Andres Duany, one of the godfathers of the movement.’
    • ‘Irving Kristol, sometimes called the godfather of neoconservatism, calls it not a movement but a persuasion.’
    • ‘The film has rough edges to go with its scruffy surroundings, but most of it works and you can see the influence of indie godfather John Sayles, for whom Kusama has worked as an assistant.’
    • ‘Petipa, after all, was godfather to the big ‘new’ ballet at New York City Ballet in spring, 1999, Peter Martins's staging of Swan Lake.’
    • ‘He's become a sort of a godfather to the event; his philosophy is the festival's philosophy.’
    • ‘Hazlewood's song factory has furnished everyone from Presley to Sinatra, and now he is being re-branded as the godfather of alternative country.’
    • ‘Irwin Schiff, the godfather of the movement, is insistent that you shouldn't just take his word for anything: You should check the statutes.’
    • ‘Qualcomm could have become a godfather to all the world's CDMA, 3G manufacturers and adopted an appropriate business model, much like ARM did by licensing its cores.’
    • ‘For a few years they were one of the biggest bands in the world, standing as role models and godfathers for the alternate rock explosion of the '90s.’
    • ‘If Iggy Pop is the godfather of punk, surely David Thomas (the man behind the mic for seminal bands Rocket From the Tombs and Pere Ubu) would be the godfather of alternative rock.’
    • ‘A near godfather to the stand-up genre, Pryor is a legend when it comes to biting wit and acidic observation - acts like Chris Rock owe a great debt to the comedian.’
    • ‘Kenneth Koch is the godfather of a literary movement, called in the good old days of funding for arts, Poets-in-the-Schools.’
    • ‘The former general was the godfather of the settler movement.’
    • ‘Coming as he did without the help of a godfather to the industry, Dino constantly points out that he does not have the chances that a Khanna or a Bachchan junior has in the industry.’
    • ‘This coincidence allows me to boldly claim it is I who am the godfather of the whole alt-country movement.’
    • ‘Milligan, who became known as the godfather of alternative comedy before his death a fortnight ago, spent four agonising years writing the book and joked he was nearly driven mad in the process.’
    1. 2.1A person directing a criminal organization, especially a leader of the American Mafia.
      ‘the Mafia godfather believed to be behind the murder of two judges’
      • ‘In Glasgow, gang territories are in a state of transition as the alleged criminal godfathers who ran them have been scattered by circumstance.’
      • ‘The export of mafia capital on this scale produces far more difficulties for the Russian economy than the activities of the Colombian drugs barons or the Italian Mafia godfathers, who at least invest some of their ill-gotten gains at home.’
      • ‘Gotti joined the powerful Gambino crime family in 1966 when it was headed by Mafia godfather Carlo Gambino.’
      • ‘If there was a mafia at Clear Ridge High, Shelley was the godfather, the Marlon Brando of mobsters.’
      • ‘The provos have been touting for support and jumping into bed with madmen, gunmen and godfathers for as long as they have been in existence.’
      • ‘Getting rid of the guns, goons and godfathers will not happen overnight.’
      • ‘That's why mafia godfathers and titans of business don't mind eating with their most trusted lieutenants in otherwise empty restaurants.’
      • ‘A mandatory inclusive executive, however formed, involving those who are criminal godfathers will never gain our support.’
      • ‘The scene was reminiscent of the Mafia godfather who goes to confession on Sunday before returning to his normal criminal activities on Monday.’
      • ‘When he went to prison, he was running a crime family business as the godfather.’
      • ‘‘Eh, you Americans know nothing,’ Viktor said with a Russian accent, which vaguely reminded me of an Italian mafia godfather.’
      • ‘Mafia bloodletting is rare, generally confined to squabbling godfathers in the provinces.’
      • ‘Thieves returned a stolen car with a note saying sorry and eight bottles of champagne after discovering it belonged to the son of a Mafia godfather in Castellammare, Sicily.’
      • ‘Ming, a gangster, has worked his way up the police force ranks and Yan, a cop, has been undercover as top hitman for Sam, the pudgy-faced godfather, for nearly a decade.’
      • ‘A malign version of myself, more outrageous and more cunning, he became the godfather and I the consiglieri of our two-man ‘mob’.’
      • ‘He knows the exercise of arbitrary power by studio heads, easily comparable to Mafia godfathers.’