[ puh-tur-ni-tee ]
/ pəˈtɜr nɪ ti /


the state of being a father; fatherhood.
derivation or acquirement from a father.
origin or authorship.


noting or pertaining to a legal dispute in which an unwed mother accuses a man of being the father of her child: a paternity suit.

Origin of paternity

1400–50; late Middle English paternite < Late Latin paternitās. See paternal, -ity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for paternity

British Dictionary definitions for paternity

/ (pəˈtɜːnɪtɪ) /


  1. the fact or state of being a father
  2. (as modifier)a paternity suit was filed against the man
descent or derivation from a father
authorship or originthe paternity of the theory is disputed

Word Origin for paternity

C15: from Late Latin paternitās, 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 paternity

[ pə-tûrnĭ-tē ]


The state of being a father; fatherhood.
Descent on a father's side; paternal descent.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.