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[puh-tur-nl-iz-uh m] /pəˈtɜr nlˌɪz əm/

the system, principle, or practice of managing or governing individuals, businesses, nations, etc., in the manner of a father dealing benevolently and often intrusively with his children:
The employees objected to the paternalism of the old president.
the attitude or policy of a government or other authority that manages the affairs of a country, company, community, etc, in the manner of a father, esp in usurping individual responsibility and the liberty of choice

“feeling of a father for his children,” 1851; “government as by a father over his children,” 1866, from paternal + -ism. Related: Paternalistic (1890).


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  • Paternally

    [puh-tur-nl] /pəˈtɜr nl/ adjective 1. characteristic of or befitting a father; fatherly: a kind and paternal reprimand. 2. of or relating to a father. 3. related on the father’s side: one’s paternal grandfather. 4. derived or inherited from a father: paternal traits. /pəˈtɜːnəl/ adjective 1. relating to or characteristic of a father, esp in showing […]

  • Paternity

    [puh-tur-ni-tee] /pəˈtɜr nɪ ti/ noun 1. the state of being a father; fatherhood. 2. derivation or acquirement from a father. 3. origin or authorship. adjective 4. 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. /pəˈtɜːnɪtɪ/ noun 1. 2. […]

  • Paternity-leave

    noun 1. a leave of absence from a job for a father to care for a new baby. noun 1. a period of paid absence from work, in the UK currently two weeks, to which a man is legally entitled immediately after the birth of his child 2. a period of paid or unpaid absence […]

  • Paternity suit

    noun 1. (law) the US (and in Britain a nontechnical) term for affiliation proceedings

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