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.