Ways to Say Father and Grandfather in Different Languages

Ways to Say Father and Grandfather in Different Languages

Stacy Zeiger
by Stacy Zeiger 2,313 views

Every year, on the third Sunday in June, people in the United States celebrate Father's Day. It's a day to honor men for the work they do in raising their children. Just like we shared Ways to Say Mother and Grandmother in Different Languages, in honor Father's Day, we thought we'd do the same to honor the dads, papas, pops, and other father figures in your life.

Ways to Say Father

In English, a father can take on one of many names. Father is a more formal title that can either show respect or signal a more distant relationship. Dad is a more informal option and daddy is often used by kids. Then, of course, there's dada which, much to the dismay of mothers, many babies are known to say as their first word. Other informal terms for father include papa, pop or pops, and old man.

The word papa or papà is actually used across many different languages. It's used in Russian, French, and Spanish. The similar-sound pappa is also used in languages such as Norwegian and Swedish. Other languages retain the use of p as the first letter.  For example:

  • padre in Spanish and Italian
  • pai in Portuguese
  • pabbi in Icelandic
  • papi in German
  • pere in French

Other languages take on a completely different vibe. For example, Dutch, Afrikaans, and Flemish channel Star Wars with vader and Swiss German uses a similar term, vatter. Polish, Romanian, and Czech use tata. Yiddish used tateh.  Welsh uses tad. Other words for father include isa in Finnish and Estonian and otac in Croatian and Bosnian.

Ways to Say Grandfather

Grandfather is another word that has many alternate terms. In English, grandfathers can be known as grandpa, grandad, granddaddy, gramps, papa, pawpaw, and pop pop.

Many of the other popular names for grandfather in the United States come from other languages. They include:

  • baba from Ukrainian 
  • pappous from Greek
  • bonpa from Flemish
  • nonno from Italian
  • morfar from Swedish
  • afi from Icelandic
  • oupa from Afrikaans

Of course, nothing keeps kids from coming up with their own nicknames for their fathers and grandfathers. Some of the best names come from the mouths of babes as they're learning to talk.

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