1. Of or pertaining to a father; fatherly; showing the disposition of a father; guiding or instructing as a father; as, paternal care. "Under paternal rule."

2. Received or derived from a father; hereditary; as, a paternal estate. "Their small paternal field of corn." (Dryden) Paternal government, the assumption by the governing power of a quasi-fatherly relation to the people, involving strict and intimate supervision of their business and social concerns, upon the theory that they are incapable of managing their own afffairs.

Origin: L. Paternus, fr. Pater a father: cf. F. Paternel. See Father.

(01 Mar 1998)

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