Baba (honorific)

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For other uses, see Baba (disambiguation).

Baba (Persian: ‎‎: بابا, Turkish: baba, Urdu: ‎بابا, Pashto: ‎; Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindi and Marathi: बाबा Punjabi: ਬਾਬਾ; father; grandfather; wise old man; sir,[1]) is a Persian honorific term used in several West Asian and South Asian cultures. It is used as a mark of respect to refer to Sufi saints.[2]

The Bektashi Order, headquartered in Albania, uses the term 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][3] 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 form of respect to address Chinese people born in British Straits Settlement.[4][5]

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." The similar form "papà" is commonly used in Italian, as well as "papa" in French and "Papa" in German.

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.
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Baba in Weiner, E. S. C.; Simpson, J. R. (1989). The Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861186-2.