Definition of paternal in English:



  • 1Of or appropriate to a father.

    ‘he reasserted his paternal authority’
    • ‘Needless to say, social life is charged with signs that affirm the paternal authority of those in power.’
    • ‘He's a father, and he takes his paternal responsibilities seriously.’
    • ‘His paternal authority is a relic of his younger and stronger days.’
    • ‘Those students who reported high levels of paternal / father acceptance and warmth did significantly better in school.’
    • ‘He himself is a father and yet, despite his best efforts, his paternal instincts are weird to the extreme.’
    • ‘The father's education also may be associated with levels of paternal involvement.’
    • ‘How can we free ourselves from this sense of paternal authority which is both intrusive and reassuring?’
    • ‘Another measurement of paternal effort is the intensity with which the father defends his offspring.’
    • ‘The young mother's parents and other female relatives can equally determine paternal involvement.’
    • ‘This item explores if expectant fathers perceived their own fathers as anxious in their paternal role.’
    • ‘However, her father, exercising every paternal instinct and right, ordered her out of the boat straight away.’
    • ‘Her status in law compared with an adult son still living in his father's house, under paternal authority.’
    • ‘I doubted that my father would but I waited anyway, just to see if I was right in my speculations about my fathers paternal instincts.’
    • ‘Western tradition dictated that that authority should be paternal.’
    • ‘Similar to early work in the U.S., no study on paternal involvement has been done using data collected from fathers themselves.’
    • ‘He has to provide an authoritative, paternal perspective without being dismissive of the disparate viewpoints enclosed.’
    • ‘These results suggest that paternal expectations motivate fathers' behavior.’
    • ‘Few studies examine paternal involvement among nonresident and low-income fathers.’
    • ‘Support from the adolescent father's parents may be a particularly important influence on paternal involvement.’
    • ‘Through the modalities of education and support, young fathers may advance in both their level of paternal involvement and their own development.’
    on one's father's side, patrilineal, patrimonial
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    1. 1.1 Showing a kindness and care associated with a father; fatherly.
      ‘my elders in the newsroom kept a paternal eye on me’
      • ‘His style with the crews is almost paternal, strong yet fair.’
      • ‘He denies feeling more paternal towards the dancers these days, but owns up to " avuncular".’
      • ‘Mason patted her on the arm, a strangely paternal gesture, and sauntered past her father with barely a tip of his hat.’
      • ‘Playing with the kids made me feel very paternal.’
      • ‘There was this strange feeling inside him as he held her, almost paternal, but not quite.’
      fatherly, fatherlike, patriarchal
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    2. 1.2attributive Related through the father.
      ‘his father and paternal grandfather were porcelain painters’
      • ‘Her paternal grandfather settled in Singapore more than 70 years ago.’
      • ‘This general interest evolved from my active pursuit in mapping my family's genealogy, most specifically my paternal grandfather's branch of the family.’
      • ‘Max's paternal grandfather was a member of the Red Army and had to carefully hide the fact his wife's parents had been landowners.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was the fashion that the first son was named after the paternal grandfather and the second after the father and so on.’
      • ‘I used to figure that my weight was inherited from my paternal grandfather, who also was skinny.’
      • ‘Yesterday, the twins' paternal grandfather spoke of the family's anger and confusion at the treatment of the children.’
      • ‘My paternal grandfather was killed three months before my father was born who in turn was killed three months before my first birthday.’
      • ‘My paternal grandfather died when my father was 3.’
      • ‘Architecture comes naturally to him as a family profession, inherited from his paternal grandfather who was the curator of Taj Mahal and an architect.’
      • ‘His maternal grandparents travelled to the US from Emly, while his paternal grandfather hailed from Killoch in Co Down.’
      • ‘My paternal grandfather came over from England.’
      • ‘And his paternal grandfather wasn't exactly a role model, either.’
      • ‘Seth's father, three uncles, and paternal grandfather, along with a number of cousins and subsequent generations of relatives, were carpenters.’
      • ‘My parents and my mom's parents are the ones that haven't divorced - even my paternal grandfather divorced once before meeting my grandmother.’
      • ‘I'm certain it had something to do with his paternal grandfather's three tours of duty there.’
      • ‘One of the villagers showed him an old-fangled film projector which his paternal grandfather had requisitioned to show movies to the villagers.’
      • ‘Late in life, my paternal grandfather developed Alzheimer's.’
      • ‘Of his paternal grandfather, David, who died three years before Ian was born, he knew almost nothing, and it was to the far north that he headed in search of answers.’
      • ‘My paternal grandfather actually helped build the old part and then after it was built, got a job weaving and he was here all his life.’


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