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[fawr-fah-th er, fohr-] /ˈfɔrˌfɑ ðər, ˈfoʊr-/
an ancestor.
Origin of forefather
First recorded in 1250-1300, forefather is from the Middle English word forefader. See fore-, father
Related forms
forefatherly, adjective
forebear, progenitor, patriarch, forerunner. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for forefather
Historical Examples
  • Orkins might be the forefather of a new race—a helluva race.

    The Whispering Spheres Russell Robert Winterbotham
  • It remained upon the point of rock, and my forefather took it thence.

    Benita, An African Romance H. Rider Haggard
  • You see the further away your forefather is, the more the virtue.

    The Faith Doctor Edward Eggleston
  • Your forefather, who, in the revival of science, sought the secrets of Apollonius and Paracelsus.

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • It is said that in olden times the forefather of the Armenians had to flee for his life.

  • The white-eyed man was stationed at Lati,97 and is the forefather of all the people of Lati.

    The History of Sulu Najeeb M. Saleeby
  • As his forefather's fate was, so shall his be, for in both of them dwells the same spirit.

    The Wanderer's Necklace H. Rider Haggard
  • No record, when my said forefather gave you other lands in place of them which you now hold?

    The Lady Of Blossholme H. Rider Haggard
  • We will see if this man can sing a death song as did Ragnar our forefather.

    Wulfric the Weapon Thane

    Charles W. Whistler
  • "Well known is the name of Ragnar Lodbrok, my forefather," said the jarl.

    Wulfric the Weapon Thane

    Charles W. Whistler
British Dictionary definitions for forefather


an ancestor, esp a male
Derived Forms
forefatherly, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for forefather

"ancestor," c.1300, from fore- + father (n.); perhaps directly from Old Norse forfaðir.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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