[ puh-tur-nl ]
/ pəˈtɜr nl /


characteristic of or befitting a father; fatherly: a kind and paternal reprimand.
of or relating to a father.
related on the father's side: one's paternal grandfather.
derived or inherited from a father: paternal traits.


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Origin of paternal

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin paternālis, equivalent to Latin patern(us) paternal (pater father + -nus adj. suffix) + -ālis -al1

OTHER WORDS FROM paternal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for paternal

British Dictionary definitions for paternal

/ (pəˈtɜːnəl) /


relating to or characteristic of a father, esp in showing affection, encouragement, etc; fatherly
(prenominal) related through the fatherhis paternal grandfather
inherited or derived from the male parent

Derived forms of paternal

paternally, adverb

Word Origin for paternal

C17: from Late Latin paternālis, from Latin pater father
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

Medical definitions for paternal

[ pə-tûrnəl ]


Relating to or characteristic of a father or fatherhood.
Received or inherited from a father.
Related through one's father.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.