[ god-pair-uhnt, -par- ]
/ ˈgɒdˌpɛər ənt, -ˌpær- /
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a godfather or godmother.
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Origin of godparent

First recorded in 1860–65; see origin at god + parent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does godparent mean?

A godparent is a person who has pledged to help with the upbringing of a child, especially in a religious way.

In some denominations of Christianity, when a child is baptized, they are sponsored by (usually two) adults who pledge to help in this way. Those adults are the child’s godparents, and the child is their godchild.

Godparents are often related to their godchildren (an aunt might be her nephew’s godmother, for example), but they don’t need to be.

Godparents also often pledge to become the godchild’s guardian if needed (in the event that the child’s parents die).

These terms are all sometimes applied outside of a religious context—parents may choose close relatives or friends to act as godparents for their children without any religious aspect to the relationship.

A godparent can still refer to their godchild with that term even after the child becomes an adult.

Example: Some people are godparents in name only, but Kelly and Chris spend as much time as they can with their godchildren.

Where does godparent come from?

The first records of the word godparent come from around 1700. Godmother and godfather are much older—both are first recorded before 1000. Even though the word God is usually capitalized in the context of Christianity, it’s spelled lowercase in some general terms, such as godliness.

In some Christian denominations, people officially become godparents to their godchild at the child’s baptism by making specific pledges to assist with their religious upbringing. Some parents, though, choose godparents for their child simply by asking them to have a special presence in their godchild’s life (and often to act as the child’s guardians if something should happen to them). This may or may not involve a religious aspect.

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How is godparent used in real life?

The word godparent is especially associated with the relationship that’s made official during the Christian ceremony of baptism, but it’s also used in nonreligious contexts. 




Try using godparent!

Is godparent used correctly in the following sentence?

I try to be a good godparent by always sending my goddaughter something for her birthday.

How to use godparent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for godparent

/ (ˈɡɒdˌpɛərənt) /

a person who stands sponsor to another at baptism
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