father


father
   This would seem to be the natural term for a speaker to use to his or her father, but whether it is used or not depends on individual family practice, which may in turn be influenced by the social and educational level of the family concerned. ‘Father’ is in fact only one of many terms available to an English-speaker - others include: Dad, Daddy, Pop, Pa, Papa, Poppa, Pater, our Da’, etc. On ‘father’ itself, Mrs Craik has this to say in John Halifax, Gentleman: O solemn name, which Deity Himself claims and owns! Happy these children, who in its fullest sense could understand the word ‘father!’ to whom, from the dawn of their little lives, their father was what all fathers should be - the truest representative here on earth of that Father in heaven…
   This was the conventional Victorian view, requiring honour and respect to be paid to one’s parent as to one’s god. Honour was indeed accorded. When Clive Newcome, in Thackeray’s The Newcomes, writes to his father as ‘My dearest Father,’ his parent muses: ‘the modern and natuial style is a great progress upon the old-fashioned manner of my day, when we used to begin to our fathers, “Honoured Father”, or even “Honoured Sir” …’ Such was the verbal fashion in middleclass families, though Newcome Senior goes on to say: ‘I suspect parents were no more honoured in those days than nowadays.’ Dickens has a particularly unpleasant character in Barnaby Rudge, who rejects the title of father. The character of Mr Chester - later Sir John Chester - emerges clearly as he responds to being addressed as ‘Father’ by his son: ‘My good fellow,’ interposed the parent hastily, as he set down his glass, and raised his eyebrows with a startled and horrified expression, ‘for Heaven’s sake don’t call me by that obsolete and ancient name. Have some regard for decency. Am I gray, or wrinkled, do I go on crutches, have I lost my teeth, that you adopt such a mode of address?’
   There are the modern equivalents of Sir John, who refuse to allow their children to call them by one of the ‘father’ terms, preferring instead to be known by their first names. Some would argue that their motives, like Sir John’s, are related to personal vanity; others would say more charitably that they wish their children to be their friends, and to address them as such. The father-parent relationship is, however, unique, and is almost certainly of unique importance to the child. For the parent to try to negate it, or to reduce it to the level of one relationship amongst many, seems grossly unfair to the child, an unforgivably foolish act by the parent.
   As with the other ‘father’ terms, ‘father’ may in some families be used to address an adoptive father, a step-father, or a father-in-law. Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (4:i) has Claudio saying to Leonato: ‘Father, by your leave:/Will you with free and unconstrained soul/Give me this maid, your daughter?’ Similarly, in The Taming of the Shrew (2:i), Petruchio calls Baptista ‘father’ once it is agreed that Petruchio will marry Katherina: ‘Provide the feast, father, and bid the guests; I will be sure my Katherine shall be fine.’ This anticipatory use of a vocative is extended to Katherina, who is addressed immediately as ‘wife’ on expectation of the marriage.
   Apart from family relationship, ‘father’ refers - as Mrs Craik pointed out - to the spiritual relationship between God and his human family. In prayers God is frequently addressed as ‘Father’. The title is also extended to some of His representatives on earth. Much is made of that fact in Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, where the chaplain fights a losing battle as he tries to convince his colleagues that in his case, ‘Father’ is not an appropriate title:
   ‘Hiya, Father,’ he said tonelessly, without looking at the chaplain. Colonel Korn was proceeding up the stairs without slackening his pace, and the chaplain resisted the temptation to remind him again that he was not a Catholic but an Anabaptist, and that it was therefore neither necessary or correct to address him as Father. He was almost certain now that Colonel Korn remembered and that calling him Father with a look of such bland innocence was just another one of Colonel Korn’s methods of taunting him because he was only an Anabaptist.
   Later in the novel the chaplain says to a major: ‘It isn’t necessary to call me Father. I’m not a Catholic.’ The major replies: ‘Neither am I, Father. It’s just that I’m a very devout person, and I like to call all men of God Father.’ In The Outsider, Albert Camus puts the opposite point of view:
   Then he tried to change the subject by asking me why I hadn’t once addressed him as ‘Father’, seeing that he was a priest. That irritated me still more, and I told him that he wasn’t my father; quite the contrary, he was on the others’ side.
   Roman Catholic priests can also be addressed as ‘Father’ + last name or ‘Father’ + first name, the latter being the modern fashion when par ishioners are addressing their priest. Oliver’s Story, by Erich Segal, has an example of the latter usage, though it is addressed to his former father-in-law, who says: ‘“I’m here to save your soul and save your ass. And you will heed me. Do you heed?” “Yes, Father Philip.”’ With this one may compare the use of ‘my lord’, ‘your lordship’, etc., in social situations that come to resemble court-room scenes because someone is acting like a judge or barrister. Another possible reason for usage of ‘Father’ + first name is demonstrated in The Choirboys, by Joseph Wambaugh. A Los Angeles policeman who is a devout Jehovah’s Witness is regularly addressed as ‘Father Willie’ or ‘Padre’ by his colleagues. In its religious use ‘Father’ can take a normal plural form. ‘Please be seated, Fathers’. says a nun to two priests, in Bless Me, Father, by Neil Boyd. It cannot be used interchangeably with other ‘father’ terms, however. To address a priest as ‘Dad’ would be at best humour misplaced, at worst an aggressive insult.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • 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},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Father MC — (born Timothy Brown) was a popular African American rapper for the Uptown Records label in the early 1990s. Discovered and signed by then Uptown executive Sean Puffy Combs, he is best known for introducing the public to Uptown s successful R B… …   Wikipedia

  • Father — Fa ther, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Fathered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Fathering}.] 1. To make one s self the father of; to beget. [1913 Webster] Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To take as one s own child; to adopt;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • father — ► NOUN 1) a male parent. 2) an important figure in the origin and early history of something: Pasteur, the father of microbiology . 3) literary a male ancestor. 4) (often as a title or form of address) a priest. 5) (the Father) (in Christian… …   English terms dictionary

  • Father MC — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Father MC es un cantante de new jack swing y hip hop, que entró en el panorama musical con el hit I ll Do 4 U en el año 1990, dentro de su disco debut Father s Day . Dos años después, editó Close to you otro de sus… …   Wikipedia Español

  • father — [fä′thər] n. [ME fader < OE fæder, akin to ON fathir, OHG fater, Goth fadar < IE * pətḗr > L pater, Gr patēr, Sans pitár: ult. origin prob. echoic of baby talk, as in PAPA, Hindi bābū] 1. a man who has begotten a child; esp., a man as he …   English World dictionary

  • father — [n1] male person who begets children ancestor, begetter, dad, daddy*, forebearer, origin, pa, padre, papa, parent, pop*, predecessor, procreator, progenitor, sire, source; concepts 394,400,414,419,423 Ant. mother father [n2] priest abbé,… …   New thesaurus

  • father — index generate, originate, parents, primogenitor, propagate (increase), reproduce Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton …   Law dictionary

  • Father — Several terms redirect here. For other uses, see Father (disambiguation), Dad (disambiguation), Fatherhood (disambiguation), and Fathering (journal). Father with child A father is defined as a male parent of any type of offspring …   Wikipedia

  • father — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun ADJECTIVE ▪ lone (esp. BrE), single ▪ As a single father, he found it a struggle bringing up three children. ▪ married, unmarried ▪ a married father of …   Collocations dictionary


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