The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Father \Fa"ther\ (f[aum]"[th][~e]r), n. [OE. fader, AS.
f[ae]der; akin to OS. fadar, D. vader, OHG. fatar, G. vater,
Icel. fa[eth]ir Sw. & Dan. fader, OIr. athir, L. pater, Gr.
path`r, Skr. pitr, perh. fr. Skr. p[=a] protect. [root]75,
247. Cf. Papa, Paternal, Patriot, Potential,
1. One who has begotten a child, whether son or daughter; a
generator; a male parent.
A wise son maketh a glad father. --Prov. x. 1.
2. A male ancestor more remote than a parent; a progenitor;
especially, a first ancestor; a founder of a race or
family; -- in the plural, fathers, ancestors.
David slept with his fathers. --1 Kings ii.
Abraham, who is the father of us all. --Rom. iv. 16.
3. One who performs the offices of a parent by maintenance,
affetionate care, counsel, or protection.
I was a father to the poor. --Job xxix.
He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all
his house. --Gen. xiv. 8.
4. A respectful mode of address to an old man.
And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him
[Elisha], . . . and said, O my father, my father!
5. A senator of ancient Rome.
6. A dignitary of the church, a superior of a convent, a
confessor (called also father confessor), or a priest;
also, the eldest member of a profession, or of a
legislative assembly, etc.
Bless you, good father friar ! --Shak.
7. One of the chief ecclesiastical authorities of the first
centuries after Christ; -- often spoken of collectively as
the Fathers; as, the Latin, Greek, or apostolic Fathers.
8. One who, or that which, gives origin; an originator; a
producer, author, or contriver; the first to practice any
art, profession, or occupation; a distinguished example or
The father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
--Gen. iv. 21.
Might be the father, Harry, to that thought. --Shak.
The father of good news. --Shak.
9. The Supreme Being and Creator; God; in theology, the first
person in the Trinity.
Our Father, which art in heaven. --Matt. vi. 9.
Now had the almighty Father from above . . .
Bent down his eye. --Milton.
Adoptive father, one who adopts the child of another,
treating it as his own.
Apostolic father, Conscript fathers, etc. See under
Apostolic, Conscript, etc.
Father in God, a title given to bishops.
Father of lies, the Devil.
Father of the bar, the oldest practitioner at the bar.
Fathers of the city, the aldermen.
Father of the Faithful.
(a) Abraham. --Rom. iv. --Gal. iii. 6-9.
(b) Mohammed, or one of the sultans, his successors.
Father of the house, the member of a legislative body who
has had the longest continuous service.
Most Reverend Father in God, a title given to archbishops
and metropolitans, as to the archbishops of Canterbury and
Natural father, the father of an illegitimate child.
Putative father, one who is presumed to be the father of an
illegitimate child; the supposed father.
(a) A religious teacher or guide, esp. one instrumental in
leading a soul to God.
(b) (R. C. Ch.) A priest who hears confession in the
sacrament of penance.
The Holy Father (R. C. Ch.), the pope.