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A father (or dad) is a male parent or individual progenitor of human offspring. the adjective "paternal" refers to a father and comparatively to "maternal" for a mother. the verb "to father" means to procreate or to sire a child from which also derives the gerund "fathering". fathers determine the gender of their child through a sperm cell which either contains an x chromosome (female), or y chromosome (male). related terms of endearment are dad, daddy, pa, papa, pop and pops