compadre/comare and comadre/comare

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by jazyk, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I only know Portuguese, Spanish and Catalan to have a word for a child's godfather in relation to a parent (compadre/compare) and a word for a child's godmother in relation to a parent (comadre/comare). This is how it works:

    (Pt)Este é o meu compadre./(Sp)Este es mi compadre./(Ca)Aquest és el meu compare. = This is my "compadre/compare". (He baptized my child).

    (Pt)Esta é a minha comadre./(Sp)Esta es mi comadre./(Ca)Aquesta és la meva comare. = This is my "comadre/comare". (She baptized my child).

    Italian and French have cognate words, but they don't have the same application. Does your language have such a word?
  2. OldAvatar Senior Member

    In Romanian, the baptized child is fin/fină.
    El este finul meu.
  3. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    Greek has κουμπάρος / κουμπάρα (kumbaros / kumbara) for the persons who baptized you child. My dictionary traces them back to Italian compare, so maybe this word had the meaning or has it dialectally.

    (Just to add, κουμπάρος is also the word used for the equivalent of the "best man" in a wedding -- if you know about Orthodox weddings, the man who crowns the groom and bride -- the κουμπάρα is his wife, and traditionally, he also baptizes your first child.)

    About French, though, compère and commère at least did have those meanings, although perhaps they fell out of use in this meaning because the relation is not so important to French culture any more (whereas it is for many Greeks).
  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Ah, but be careful. Suppose I am the best man in a wedding. In Portuguese, you would say that I am the padrinho (de casamento), not compadre.

    Now suppose I "baptize" your child (it's actually the priest who baptizes; I wonder what's the proper term in English). Then I become the child's padrinho (godfather) also, but I am your compadre.

    It's also worth pointing out that the etymology of this word is co(m) + pater, "co-father".
  5. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    I should have been more clear -- I meant just in Greek. I though it was interesting in Greek that, although it was borrowed from Italian with the baptism-related meaning, the chief meaning of κουμπάρος is "best man" and I'm guessing that came about through the tradition of having him baptize your first child.

    That's a good question -- I would have said "baptize" (and I notice I used it again that way above) but maybe that's a Greek influence on my English, since in Greek even the parents are said to "baptize" the child and I normally only discuss baptism in a family/church setting where the Greek use will be recognized. One dictionary online says "baptize" means "to administer baptism" and that suggests it's limited to the priest or minister or so on -- the only other word I can think of is "sponsor."

    For completeness, in Greek you'd be the νονός.
  6. kiyama

    kiyama Senior Member

    Catalunya, català
    In Catalan, a child's godfather is also his "padrí".
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Well, you can say that the parents "baptize" their child in Portuguese, too -- in the sense that they go and have it baptized. And of course the godparents participate in the baptism, so one might say that they also "baptize" the child (though this is unusual). But it's the priest who performs the rites. :)
  8. deine Senior Member

    Lithuania - lithuanian

    krikštatėvis/krikštamotė (compadre/comadre)
  9. Nizo Senior Member

    My Esperanto dictionary gives the following definitions:

    baptopatro/baptopatrino Tiu, kiu tenas la baptaton dum la baptado k garantias ties kristanan edukiĝon. [The one who holds the baby during the baptism and guarantees the baby’s Christian education.]

    baptano La baptopatro rilate al la baptopatrino.
    baptanino La baptopatrino rilate al la baptopatro.

    I left the second set of definitions in Esperanto, because there is no equivalent (that I know of) for these words in English. I could compare them to French this way:

    baptopatro/baptopatrino = parrain/marraine
    baptano/baptanino = compère/commère

    As I understand it, baptopatro / baptopatrino are the the godparents in relationship to the child (i.e. the one who is baptized). The second set of terms, baptano / baptanino, refer to the relationship between the two godparents. In other words, the fact they both serve as godparents to the same child creates a unique relationship between them.
  10. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    kmotr/kmotra (compadre/comadre).
  11. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    This does say that compère and comère mean the same thing as compadre and comadre, but brands that acceptation as old-fashioned. That is probably why my Robert Micro Poche doesn't have those words with that meaning. I wonder why the French stopped applying such an important meaning to the word. :(
  12. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    I was doing some searches for compère, and I found out that English used to have such a word, and of all words, it's "gossip." According to the OED, it comes from Old English godsibb (where sibb means "related" and is found in sibling), but it seems to have been used generally of someone who's related to you through baptism, and not specifically "n relation to the parents: (One's) child's godfather or godmother." The OED also marks this as obsolete while the meaning of "godfather/godmother" (i.e. in relation to the person being baptized) is marked as archaic and dialectal. But it's interesting that it seems to have developed along the same lines as commère, including the intermediate step of meaning "friend."
  13. Joannes Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
    (Dutch doesn't have a word for this relationship.)
  14. Stiannu

    Stiannu Senior Member

    Torino (Turin), Italy
    Italy, Italian
    Well, the contemporary words in Italian are padrino and madrina.
    The archaic correspondents were compare and comare, still used in Southern Italy with the same meaning (pay attention: in this case - if we retain this archaic or regional use, the adult male person that assists during my baptism when I'm a little baby is my compare, and not my parents' compare, unlike the Portuguese use described by Outsider in post #4).
    In standard Italian, these two words have today assumed different meanings: compare is a derogatory term to indicate a peer, a friend, colleague or collaborator involved in illegal activities ("tu e i tuoi compari, state alla larga!" = "you and your [dangerous] peers, stay away from me!"). Comare usually indicates a woman who spends all her time minding other people's business, chatting and gossiping (strange similarity with the etimology of the English word gossip!).
  15. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    We also call them comadres. :)
  16. Benvindo Senior Member

    Brazil, Portuguese

    - - - -
    As Alegres Comadres de Windsor...
  17. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    For that, we say comparsa in Portuguese. Maybe the two words are related!
  18. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    We actually have those words in Indonesian.

    Mama Srani
    Ibu Srani

    Papa Srani
    Bapa Srani

    I personally only use the terms with Mama & Papa.
  19. Mikey_69 New Member

    Canada; Engilsh - Spanish
    In Spanish the true ways of saying

    Godmother and Godfather are:

    'Madrina' --and-- 'Padrino'

    In Portguese they're:

    Madrinha --and-- Padrinho

    In Italian they're:

    Padrina --and-- Padrino

    In French they're:

    Marraine --and-- Parrain
  20. Stiannu

    Stiannu Senior Member

    Torino (Turin), Italy
    Italy, Italian
    Not really. Madrina (see my previous post).
  21. Alijsh Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    Persian: We don't have baptism but we use such terms when somebody supports us (as a father/mother do) or we support him/her (as we support our son/daughter).

    godmother -> mâdarkhânde
    godfather -> pedarkhânde. khânde is past participle of khândan (to call) so e.g. mâdarkhânde literally means mother-called.

    We have also dokhtarkhânde (daughter-called), pesarkhânde (son-called).
  22. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    We don't really baptize in Turkey either. We do have the terms in Turkish though.

    godfather -> vaftiz baba--
    godmother -> vaftiz ana--

    You can't use them like that in nominative though, you have to add appropriate genitives.

    Vaftiz babam - My godfather
    Vaftiz ana - His/her godmother

    and so on.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  23. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    in Hungarian:

    godfather - godmother = keresztapa - keresztanya

    compadre - comadre (i.e. there is no English expression for that!!! why?? :)):

    koma (the male) = it is evident the origin is of Latin; it also can mean in colloquial speech, just like in Romance languages, pal, friend.
    komaasszony or komasszony (the female)
  24. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    In Polish the same, but also kumotr i kumotra. Both come from Latin com-mater (there is no com-pater).
  25. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    I just wanted to add to moddus.irrealis' excellent post(s) that the names he mentions (κουμπάρος for the best man & νονός for the godfather) are colloquialisms.
    In formal speech, the person who crowns the groom and bride (according to the rite of marriage in the Orthodox Church), is called «παράνυμφος» (pa'ranimfos, m., f.); while the one who's a child's godparent is called «ανάδοχος» (a'naðoxos, m., f.). In some geographical dialects of modern Greek (e.g. Cretan dialect), the baptized child is called «αναδεξιμιός» (anaðeksimi'os, m.), «αναδεξιμιά» (anaðeksimi'a, f.). Both «ανάδοχος» & «αναδεξιμιός, -μιά» derive from the ancient verb «ἀναδέχομαι» (ana'ðexomæ-->to accept, receive, take up)

    [ð] is a voiced dental non-sibilant fricative
    [x] is a voiceless velar fricative, known as the hard ch
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
  26. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    It might be interesting to know that, as an exception from practically all other languages, the Finnish words for godfather and godmother do not include "father" or "mother" in any form. Instead we have:

    godfather = kummisetä (setä = uncle, father's brother)
    godmother = kummitäti (täti = aunt)

    We can also say just kummi without particularizing the sex of the person. Kummi can be either godfather or godmother.

    Then we have the word sylikummi meaning the person (godfather or godmother) who holds the baby in his/her arms (syli) during the baptism procedure. Even there the sex of the person is never mentioned.

    (As an exception from general conventionalities, in my family it has always been the father who holds the baby.)
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  27. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Kmotr and kmotra mean padrinho and madrinha (godfather and godmother), not compadre and comadre. See the first post.
  28. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Yes, some members could confuse the terms, because there is no English term and would think it is all about godparents. And I also think (just like in French) younger generation would not know the expressions, because I have got the feeling those terms are not in anymore. So, once again people, we are searching 2 different terms:

    1) godfather - godmother = padrino - madrino
    2) compadre - comadre (no English word exists!!!)

    I am no native and I wonder myself if Czechs use kmotr/kmotra for compadre/comadre, but my Spanish-Czech dictionary says they do.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
  29. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Polish: kum - kuma ???


    godfather - godmother = krstný - krstá
    compadre - comadre = kmotor - kmotra
  30. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    But the question was not about the names of godparents in relation to their godchild, but to other godparents and/or to the child's parents.
  31. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    In Russian, the person who took the "spiritual mentorship" responsibility for a child at its baptism is called:
    крёстный отец /kriostnyi otets/ - godfather (lit. baptism father)
    крёстная мать /kriostnaya mat'/ - godmother (lit. baptism mother)

    in relation to the child's parents and to each other they would be:
    кум /kum/ - godsib, compadre (masc)
    кумa /kuma/ - godsib, compadr(a?) (fem)
    (I actually did not know this one off-hand, I had to look it up).
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
  32. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
  33. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    It is comadre.

    Regarding godsib, all dictionaries I have consulted define it as gossip.
  34. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Concise Oxford English Dictionary:
    - godsib = not mentioned at all
    - compadre = informal, a friend or companion

    Oxford English Dictionary
    - godsib, godsip = obsolete forms of gossip
    1 One who has contracted spiritual affinity with another by acting as a sponsor at a baptism.
    a In relation to the person baptized: A godfather or godmother; a sponsor. Now only arch. and dial.

    etymology of gossip:
    O.E. godsibb "godparent," from God + sibb "relative". Extended in M.E. to "any familiar acquaintance" (mid-14c.), especially to woman friends invited to attend a birth, later to "anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk" (1560s). Sense extended 1811 to "trifling talk, groundless rumor." The verb meaning "to talk idly about the affairs of others" is from 1620s. Related: Gossiped; gossiping.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
  35. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Wikipedia has been wrong before...
    I checked Mirriam Webster and the word is not there.
  36. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    It can be right, but I doubt 1% of natives would know what it means, so it is better to forget it.
  37. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Well, Jazyk, it seems to me, the words exist in Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan and Hungarian only. But I also think most do not understand what it is about. :) Too bad no Czech or Slovak comments from natives either.
  38. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    It is interesting how there is a link between "godparent" and gossip". In Russian it exists too: sometimes кумушка /kumushka/ - the diminutive/endearment variation of кума (godmother) means "woman who likes to gossip".

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