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[puh-tur-nl] /pəˈtɜr nl/
characteristic of or befitting a father; fatherly:
a kind and paternal reprimand.
of or relating to a father.
related on the father's side:
one's paternal grandfather.
derived or inherited from a father:
paternal traits.
Origin of paternal
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Late Latin paternālis, equivalent to Latin patern(us) paternal (pater father + -nus adj. suffix) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
paternally, adverb
nonpaternal, adjective
nonpaternally, adverb
unpaternal, adjective
unpaternally, adverb
1. See fatherly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for paternally
Historical Examples
  • "But I shall change your thoughts about the cause," he said paternally.


    Stephen French Whitman
  • He said this so solemnly and paternally, it sounded like the eleventh commandment.

  • "This is not the sort of night for small animals to be out," he said paternally.

    The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
  • “They have to have these dogs in the winter-time, you understand,” said John, paternally.

  • "My dear child, that isn't the way to chop wood," insisted Bob paternally.

    Betty Gordon at Bramble Farm Alice B. Emerson
  • He took Hubert's hand and held it paternally in both his own.

    Demos George Gissing
  • "I have been put to a deal of bother on your account, Scott," he said paternally.

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry L. Williams
  • He took him up, kissed him, and paternally set him down, drum and all.

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry L. Williams
  • "You have slept ill, my dear," said he, paternally offering her a seat beside him.

    Faithful Margaret Annie Ashmore
  • "Give the other fellows a chance," he said, paternally, to those near by.

    H. R. Edwin Lefevre
British Dictionary definitions for paternally


relating to or characteristic of a father, esp in showing affection, encouragement, etc; fatherly
(prenominal) related through the father: his paternal grandfather
inherited or derived from the male parent
Derived Forms
paternally, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin paternālis, from Latin pater father
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 paternally



early 15c., from Old French paternal "of a father" (12c.), from Medieval Latin paternalis, from Latin paternus "of a father, fatherly," from pater (see father (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paternally in Medicine

paternal pa·ter·nal (pə-tûr'nəl)

  1. Relating to or characteristic of a father or fatherhood.

  2. Received or inherited from a father.

  3. Related through one's father.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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