Pa*ter"nal(?), a. [L. paternus, fr. pater a father: cf. F. paternel. See Father.] 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." Milton.
2. Received or derived from a father; hereditary; as, a
Their small paternal field of corn.Dryden.
(Polit. Science), 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 affairs.
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