[fah-th er-lee]


of, like, or befitting a father.


Obsolete. in the manner of a father.

Nearby words

  1. father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,
  2. father-in-law,
  3. fatherhood,
  4. fatherland,
  5. fatherless,
  6. fathogram,
  7. fathom,
  8. fathomable,
  9. fathometer,
  10. fathomless

Origin of fatherly

before 1000; Middle English faderly, Old English fæderlic. See father, -ly

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.

Related formsfa·ther·li·ness, nounpseu·do·fa·ther·ly, adverbun·fa·ther·ly, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fatherly

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