[ puh-tur-nl ]
See synonyms for paternal on
  1. characteristic of or befitting a father; fatherly: a kind and paternal reprimand.

  2. of or relating to a father.

  1. related on the father's side: one's paternal grandfather.

  2. derived or inherited from a father: paternal traits.

Origin of paternal

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Old French paternel, from Late Latin paternālis, equivalent to Latin patern(us) “paternal” (pater father + -nus adjective suffix) + -ālis -al1

synonym study For paternal

1. See fatherly.

Other words from paternal

  • pa·ter·nal·ly, adverb
  • non·pa·ter·nal, adjective
  • non·pa·ter·nal·ly, adverb
  • un·pa·ter·nal, adjective
  • un·pa·ter·nal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby paternal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use paternal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for paternal


/ (pəˈtɜːnəl) /

  1. relating to or characteristic of a father, esp in showing affection, encouragement, etc; fatherly

  2. (prenominal) related through the father: his paternal grandfather

  1. inherited or derived from the male parent

Origin of paternal

C17: from Late Latin paternālis, from Latin pater father

Derived forms of paternal

  • paternally, adverb

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