The Words for Father…How They Originated

Dear Reader:

The third Sunday in June is designated as “Father’s Day” yet…the more formal term “father” is not used by most children around the world. Instead more familiar, endearing terms are used. I found the history behind the evolution of these names interesting. Here are some excerpts from the following article.

Dad? Pops? Father? Why Are There So Many Names for the Same Person?

…”Why does English have so many names for the same person? And where do they all come from? Like the names for our female parents, papa and its many variations were primarily imitative of the first sounds that young children produce, which include the p, b and sounds.

Throughout the Middle East and South Asia, fathers are called baba. Baba, dada, and papa are examples of what child-language acquisition experts call “reduplicated canonical babbling,” something universally observed as children enter the babbling phase of language accession. Reduplication is when a word, a sound, an element of a word, or a phrase is repeated.

I thought it was interesting to learn that the term “Father” was spelled with a d in place of th until as recently as the late 1500s, though the term itself dates back to the time when Old English was spoken.

Dad was first recorded in the 1500s, along with the more colloquial daddyPop is the most recent linguistic twist on affectionate names for our dads, arising in America in the 1830s.

What do you call your dad?”


Since my dad died when I was only five…I have only a few sketchy memories of personal encounters with him but I am pretty sure I called him “Daddy.” And oh what a wonderful daddy he was. Since I was the only little girl with two brothers…I got a lot of daddy’s attention…but unfortunately for only a few short years. My “princess” reign came to an abrupt ending.

I do remember mother telling me that daddy ran out and immediately bought a doll for me when he heard he had a little girl…a “doll for a doll” he told everyone excitedly. Perhaps, it is this old family anecdote that explains my love of dolls all my life.

 The other “father” in my life was Poppy…Mr. Dingle. He welcomed me into the family, along with Dee Dee, as just another one of his “little girls” and he did love his girls. I think God put me right in the right place to get the father I needed in life…and there was no better mentor for that position than Poppy!

Yet…the reality of growing up in a single family means that your one parent is both mother and father to you. When I came across this short poem I knew I, also, wanted to take a moment today to thank my mother, Lucille Arrie Wilson Barbour, for being the best “mama and daddy” that anyone could ask for…

(That…in a nutshell…was and is my mother…my father)

So until tomorrow…no matter what affectionate name you call your “father or mother” let us take a moment to say “Thank you” for their presence in our lives… never forgetting  “God so loved the world  that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

And today is also our SUPERHERO RUTLEDGE DINGLE’S BIRTHDAY!! Rutledge is turning FOUR….a SUPER NUMBER. I can hardly wait for the birthday party this afternoon! Here are some of your superheroes wishing you a Happy Birthday Rutledge until your party!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Words for Father…How They Originated

  1. bcparkison says:

    Bless your mother’s heart . God calls special women to special projects…like being both a mom and dad . You too are blessed because of her.
    Oh goodness….we have had the super hero birthdays too. Yea Captain America!


  2. Legally Ohm says:

    So sorry your dad was taken so soon. I know you miss him. I’m also so sad I never got to meet Poppy. I’m absolutely sure I would have loved him.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.