[ god-fah-th er ]
/ ˈgɒdˌfɑ ðər /


a man who serves as sponsor for a child at baptism.
any male sponsor or guardian.
(often initial capital letter) a powerful leader, especially of the Mafia.
a person who is regarded as the originator or principal shaper of a movement, school of thought, art form, industry, or the like: the godfather of abstract expressionism.

verb (used with object)

to act as godfather to; be sponsor or protector for.


Nearby words

  1. godesberg,
  2. godet,
  3. godetia,
  4. godey,
  5. godey, louis antoine,
  6. godfather offer,
  7. godfather, the,
  8. godforsaken,
  9. godfrey,
  10. godfrey of bouillon

Origin of godfather

before 1000; Middle English godfader, Old English godfæder. See God, father

Related formsgod·fa·ther·ly, adjective

Godfather, The

[ god-fah-th er ]
/ ˈgɒdˌfɑ ðər /


a novel (1969) by Mario Puzo.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for godfather

British Dictionary definitions for godfather


/ (ˈɡɒdˌfɑːðə) /


a male godparent
the head of a Mafia family or other organized criminal ring
an originator or leading exponentthe godfather of South African pop
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 godfather



man who sponsors one at baptism, late 12c., from god + father (n.). In the Mafia sense, from 1963. Popularized by Mario Puzo's novel (1969) and the movie based on it (1972).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper