Origin of the word Godfather


Wanted to know where the word Godfather came from? Why they used God before father as giving the parent a term or title that belongs only to the creator. Just curious I know what it’s definition is but why the word God in front of father.?


Because it would make no sense in the English language if they were called Fathergod.

To be a little more serious, the term “godfather” is not assigning God’s name nor his attributes to the man in question. It describes the relationship, as the godfather has a spiritual relationship with his godchild, whose faith he promised to support and assist in forming. This relationship was made by God through baptism. The godfather is also not the biological father of the child.

As for the exact origin of the word, it’s unclear. They were also called “co-father” and “co-mother” at some point.


That link is as good as I could find.


One sponsoring a Christian for baptism becomes Spiritual “Parent” to the child. For sacraments are a Family matter. That person represents the larger community (the larger family) in supporting the child’s faith. Hence the term, godmother or godfather. That person must be and remain an exemplar of one following Christ well.

Yet, some traditions are doctrinally deprived of such communal support in matters sacramental. Indeed, due to ancient heresy, the role of godparent has been negated among them. The concept, therefore, is foreign to them.


Without further research (so far everything I looked at jumps straight to the origin of the practice, not the origin of the word), I’m pretty sure that the “god-” in “godfather” is not a reference to deity. Rather, it is an old spelling of the English word “good”. This is still seen in words like “godspeed” (“good-speed”), and historically in the word “god-spel” -> “gospel”.



Thank you.


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