[fah-th er-lee]


of, like, or befitting a father.


Obsolete. in the manner of a father.

Origin of fatherly

before 1000; Middle English faderly, Old English fæderlic. See father, -ly
Related formsfa·ther·li·ness, nounpseu·do·fa·ther·ly, adverbun·fa·ther·ly, adjective

Synonyms for fatherly

1. Fatherly, paternal refer to the relationship of a male parent to his children. Fatherly has emotional connotations; it always suggests a kind, protective, tender, or forbearing attitude: fatherly advice. Paternal may suggest a kindly, proprietary attitude: paternal interest; but it may also be used objectively, as a legal and official term: his paternal grandmother; paternal estate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fatherly

Contemporary Examples of fatherly

Historical Examples of fatherly

  • She laughed as she spoke, and Guillaume laughed with her in a gay and fatherly way.

  • "You should never judge by appearances," said White, with a fatherly severity.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • Still they have a fatherly care of the young, and are deeply impressed by sentiments of religion.



  • Blaine put his hands upon her shoulders in fatherly compassion.

    The Crevice

    William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander

  • My feelings for her were not at all of a fatherly character.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

British Dictionary definitions for fatherly



of, resembling, or suitable to a father
Derived Formsfatherliness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for fatherly

Old English fæderlic; see from father (n.) + -ly (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper