Baba (honorific)

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For other uses, see Baba (disambiguation).

Baba (Persian: ‎: بابا, Urdu: ‎بابا, Pashto: ; Sanskrit, Punjabi, Bengali, Hindi and Marathi: बाबा; father; grandfather; wise old man; sir,[1]) is a Persian honorific term used in several West and South Asian cultures. It is used as a mark of respect to refer to Sufi saints.[citation needed]

The Bektashi Order, headquartered in Albania, use the term of baba for all its priesthood.[citation needed]

During the Muslim rule in South Asia it was also used for Hindu and Sikh ascetics (sannyasis) is also be used as a suffix or prefix to their names e.g.: Ramdev Baba, Baba Ramdevji, etc.[1][2] Baba is also a title accorded to the head of certain order of Sufi saints: Baba Bulleh Shah and Rehman Baba.[1] The Persian term was also adopted in Malaysia as an honorific of respect to address Chinese people born in British Straits Settlement.[3][4]

In Shona, a language spoken in Zimbabwe, and also in Yoruba, a language spoken by the Yoruba culture in the south western part of Nigeria, Baba is an honorific for father, wise man or, simply, elderly man. It is also a term of respect used by wives, other women, children and other youth to an older man.[citation needed]

"Patera" is the formal translation of the word "father" into the modern Greek language (Meaning, "Priest" {as in 'Father Dennis'}, "father" {as in, 'Listen to your father'}, and is also used as a term of respect towards fathers in law). While "Patera" may be the formal way to address elders (out of respect) the word "Baba" is a more casual way of saying father, and much more commonly used. It can be most directly translated to the English words "Dad," "Daddy," and "Pops."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Platts, John T. (John Thompson). A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1884.
  2. ^ Hunter, William Wilson; James Sutherland Cotton; Richard Burn; William Stevenson Meyer; Great Britain India Office (1908). Imperial Gazetteer of India 20. Clarendon Press. p. 295. 
  3. ^ Ooi, Keat Gin (2004). Southeast Asia : A Historical Encyclopedia, From Angkor Wat to East Timor. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. p. 198. ISBN 1-57607-770-5. 
  4. ^ Baba in Weiner, E. S. C.; Simpson, J. R. (1989). The Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861186-2.