Babbo vs. papà

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Lilllabettt, May 2, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Lilllabettt New Member

    What's the difference between Babbo and Papa in Italian? I was always under the impression that "Babbo" meant "daddy", but in the dictionary it says it simply means "Dad" while "Papa" is "daddy." Perhaps "Babbo" is "daddy" in the Tuscan dialect, exclusively? Any help much appreciated.
  2. Alfry

    Alfry Senior Member

    Ciao e Benvenuto (welcome).

    Papà and babbo are the same, that is, babbo is used in the Tuscan area and papà elsewhere. But that is not a rule.

    hope it helps
  3. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Babbo is father and Papa is the Pope :D

    Papà is dad, paparino and papy (both very colloquial) mean daddy. Babbo is used in Tuscany only, as far as I know.
  4. Manuela Senior Member

    Italy -Italian/English
    Babbo Natale is used all over Italy..
    however, be very careful when you go down south with the word "babbo" as in many dialects it means "stupid":D
  5. DDT

    DDT Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Italy - Italian
    Actually the right expression - being quite common in Milano - is simply "babbo"...i.e. "Sei un babbo" means "You're dumb"

  6. lousim76 New Member

    Australia, English
    I can tell you growing up my father insisted I call him Babbo, he wasn't refering to Stupid and he is from South Italy, Calabria to be exact. My guess is it means Father not Daddy.
  7. uinni

    uinni Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Let's sum-up things!
    "Babbo" = daddy is mainly used in Tuscany (and there it is used also instead of "padre").
    "Babbo" = dumb has a limited area usage (dialectal?), where babbo is not widespread (of course, otherwise there would be quite a weird semantic superposition :) )
    Where babbo is not used, papà=daddy is used instead (usually in northen Italy).

    Yet there are some unitary usages of babbo:
    "Babbo Natale" (who is no one else but San Nicola (di Bari) -> "St. Nicolaus" -> Santa Claus :) )
    "A babbo morto" = as late as possible.

    Father is translated by "padre".

  8. LaSmarjeZ

    LaSmarjeZ Junior Member

    Herning, Danmark
    Sardinia - Italy
    I live in Sardinia and we use also to say Babbo and not Papà.
    The only space I've heard "papà natale" was in the spot of a panettone...
  9. efano

    efano Senior Member

    Faenza, IT
    Italian - Italy
    I live in Romagna and have always used "babbo". And my children will call me "babbo". Here "babbo" and "papà" are used half and half, it depends on the families. Some prefer to use babbo, some papà.
    Maybe there was some time "papà" sounded more elegant, surely used by enriched people (there is the expression "figlio di papà" to mean someone is "viziato": by the way, how do you say this in English).
    Now it has greatly lost this social connotation.

    I don't know if I was clear.
    "Babbo" efano.
  10. emma1968 Senior Member

    I come from Tuscany, and yes indeed, we use the word "babbo" to call the father.
    I wouldn't personally feel confortable calling him "papà"
  11. Juri Senior Member

    Koper, near Trieste
    Never heard that babbo means stupid, as posted by Manuela.
    It's mistaken with babbèo.
  12. gerryino Junior Member

    North of italy
    In the north of Italy is quite common. Babbo generally means stupid, but maybe it's slang.

    I've been in tuscany many times, and they use it for 'daddy'.

    Pay also attention :
    Papà = dad
    Papa = (the) Pope
  13. victoria luz

    victoria luz Senior Member

    There has been at least one other thread on the same subject.
    Anyway, Juri:
    Babbo as an insult is heard a lot all over Italy. Other foreros reported about the use in the north, but I can assure you that it is quite common also in Sicily and in Apulia.

    As far as I know, babbo as father/daddy is not used south of Rome. Papà rules, and a southern traditional variant is the adorable (and repectful at the same time) Tata.
  14. LaSmarjeZ

    LaSmarjeZ Junior Member

    Herning, Danmark
    Sardinia - Italy
    I've never heard "babbo" as an insult, maybe "babbeo", "babbione" but not babbo.
    We use also "babbo" here in Sardinia, I think it's because in dialect is "Babbu" (For example in the "Padre nostro" says "Babbu nostru ki ses in kelu...")
  15. cjet_7 New Member

    England - English
    Using "figlio da papà" to mean someone who is "viziato" (spoiled or pampered) would probably be better translated as "a daddy's boy" in English rather than a "father's son", as it connotes that the son is spoilt by his "daddy".
  16. blingbang Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    "Babbo" in sud italia non è un insulto, e al sud è raro che venga usato anche per dire "papà" (almeno dove sto io è così.), direi che babbo è un termine che appartiene di piu' alle regioni del centro,centro-nord . A Milano invece se ti dicono che sei un babbo significa che sei un :warn:minchione, perdonate il francesismo, ma le lingue parlate sono fatte anche d'insulti.
  17. Jujujules Junior Member

    Pisa - Italy, Italian
    "Babbo" in senso di "padre" non è esclusivamente toscano, anche io lo attribuisco alle regioni del centro Italia, ma anche in Sardegna si usa ed ho conosciuto dei siciliani che lo usavano, quindi non credo ci sia un'area geografica precisa dove collocarlo;

    L'espressione "a babbo morto" è diffusa in tutta Italia e non so se sia originaria di Milano come qualcuno ha detto, visto che in questa espressione il termine "babbo" è usato proprio nel senso che gli danno i toscani e non in quello che gli danno i milanesi.
  18. knowyourself Junior Member

    When I was in High School, our Latin teacher told us that the word ''babbo'' comes from an ancient greek word (pappas) that meant ''stupid old man'' (and that should explain why in the south of Italy, the ancient Magna Grecia, as we say, still has a negative meaning!) Then, throughout the centuries, and far away from that area, it started to mean just ''old man'' and then was used to show respect to the person you were talking to...till it became the word for ''dad''.
    However, if you search in any Italian dictionary, you'll find that they say it comes from the onomatopoeic sound that children make when they're months old. I don't know, but my teacher graduated in Greek philology, so I would give her some credit! ;)

    And, sorry if I say this, but ''Papà Natale'' un si po' senti'!!! :p (<- sorry, but in correct Italian is not as effective!)

    I have friends from Naples and they call their dad ''babbo''!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2011
  19. luway

    luway Senior Member

    Ho la stessa età di Emma ma per me la situazione qui (Friuli) è esattamente all'opposto: mi sentirei a disagio a chiamare mio padre 'babbo' invece di 'papà'...

    Mi suonano entrambe delle generalizzazioni inesatte: ho vissuto in Veneto e in Friuli e sinceramente non ho mai sentito usare la parola 'babbo' in quel senso (solo 'babbeo', come detto anche da altri) né l'espressione "a babbo morto", entrambe --col significato che è stato dato loro qui-- sono del tutto nuove per me...
  20. ☺

    Senior Member

    A Roma si dice anche al femminile: 'babba'; es: "ma guarda te 'sta babba!" ("ma guarda te questa cretina/scema!")
  21. ElFrikiChino

    ElFrikiChino Senior Member

    Italian (Mantova)
    Io (bassa lombardia, ma ho anche un sacco di parenti in veneto) non ho mai sentito babbo col significato di stupido. Né l'espressione "a babbo morto", che non ho idea di cosa significhi (non ho letto i post precedenti)

  22. Broca

    Broca Senior Member

    Pisa, Italia
    The explanation doesn't convince me, honestly. Studying linguistics, I know that one of the first consonant sounds a child can make is , together with [p] and [m]: hence the words babbo, papà, mamma, etc. which are similar in many many languages.

    Papà Natale concordo che un si pole sentì per davvero!:)
  23. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Se si dice "babbo" a Milano nel senso di "stupido", mi sembra comunque di provenienza meridionale, come pure "minchia", di origine siciliana, ma abbastanza usato a Milano; non l'avevo mai sentito quando vivevo in Emilia.
  24. gerryino Junior Member

    North of italy

    E' probabile, queste espressioni le ho sentite spesso negli ambienti "meridionali"... tra i tamarri, senza voler essere razzisti :p

    Espressioni tipo
    Ma sei babbo? (Are you stupid?) :warn:
    Babbo di minchia (Idiot, stupid) :warn::warn:
    Sono diventate comuni ai giovani nordici dove sto io (provincia di Lecco).
  25. curiosone

    curiosone Senior Member

    Romagna, Italy
    AE - hillbilly ;)
    When I was learning Italian, my friends (who didn't use "babbo" to mean "papà" explained that "babbo" meaning "stupid" derived from "babbeo." Personally I prefer "papà" because it's closer to French (and also to English) - so the majority wins.

    At any rate I found this prior discussion on the subject:
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page