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17:33 May 9, 2001
English to Arabic translations [Non-PRO]
English term or phrase: dad
Biological father

Summary of answers provided
naBaba, بابا
mohamed Bennis
naAB أب WALID والد ABAH أباه ABATAH أبتاه YA ABATI يا أبتي etc.Fuad Yahya



5 hrs
AB أب WALID والد ABAH أباه ABATAH أبتاه YA ABATI يا أبتي etc.

AB أَب (short A, like the A in “pendant,” some pronounce it UB, with a U as in “up”) is the most general term. It may appear with various endings to reflect grammatical case. It denotes fatherhood, real or figurative.

WALID والد (long A, short I) is used either to emphasize the biological bond or to express an extra degree of closeness and/or respect. It literally means “sire” or “progenitor.”

For addressing one’s own father, there are many invocative forms.

ABA أبَا (both A’s are short) and ABAH أَباه (short first A, long second A) go back a long way. They are found even in the Aramaic version of the Lord’s Pryer.

ABATAH أَبَتاه (last A is long, first two A’s are short) and ABATI أَبَتي (three short syllables, usually preceded by the invocative article YA يا) are old forms as well. The latter appears in several Qur’anic verses (in Suras XII and XIX).

In modern colloquial Arabic, various forms are used:

YABEH (long A) is mostly used in Iraq, but it does not always mean “father.” It is close to the term “man,” as used by many African Americans, as in “I am telling you, man; everything is cool.” YABEH is probably a merging of YA ABA

YUBAH (both syllables are short, the U is like the U in “pull”) is common in the Persian Gulf region.

ABOOY is common in many Arab regions.

ABOOYI is the term I used as a child, and would still use if my father were alive today.

BAYYI may be heard in some Levantine regions.

BABA (both A’s are long, like the A in “father”) is used in many regions. In some regions, it is strictly baby talk, while in other regions, it is used by many well into adulthood. My daughter quit using it when fellow Texans thought she was addressing me as “Bubba.” After a short stint with Tata, she opted for “daddy,” at least for now. She has never taken to ABOOYI.


Note added at 2004-01-08 05:20:19 (GMT)

Typo correction: The Lord\'s Prayer, not Pryer. I apologize for the error.

    Basic Arabic
Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 7167
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8 hrs
Baba, بابا

Hi Bob,
Mohamed AZdine.

mohamed Bennis
Local time: 10:17
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 16
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