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In American usage, "Bubba" is a term of endearment formed from "brother" and mainly given to boys.

The linguist Ian Hancock has described similarities between the African language Krio and Gullah, the creole language of blacks in the isolated Sea Islands of South Carolina and points out that the Krio expression bohboh (boy) appears in Gullah as buhbuh, which may account for the Bubba of the American South.[1]

Robert Ferguson notes in his book English Surnames that Bubba corresponds with the German Bube, a boy. This matches Saxon and Hibernian tradition.[2]

Because of its association with the southern part of the United States, Bubba is also often used outside the South as a pejorative to mean a person of low economic status and limited education. Bubba may also be taken to mean one who is a "good ol' boy." In the US Army and Marines, Bubba can mean a lay soldier, similar to "grunt", but with connotations of endearment instead of derision (e.g., "Can you make that device easier to work with, because every Bubba is going to have to use it.").

At times, it may be used as a term of endearment (or in an insulting sense) for a person, especially to a man, who is either overweight or has a seemingly powerful large body frame.[3][4]

In gun culture, Bubba is a term used for a person who permanently alters or modifies historic firearms, with no regard for its historical value.[citation needed]

The word exists in other languages and carries similar meanings. Bubba is common in Australia and New Zealand as a noun to refer affectionately to a baby.

(In Yiddish, the word Bobe [with a vowel similar to a shortened version of the vowel of caught + beh] means 'grandmother,' and, as a form of address, is often rendered by English speakers as "Bubba" or "Bubbie.")



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  • Bubba (fish) (d. 2006), the first fish known to have undergone chemotherapy


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  1. ^ "Welcome | The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition". Yale.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  2. ^ Robert Ferguson. English Surnames: And Their Place in the Teutonic Family. p. 272. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  3. ^ "Interview with a link spammer". The Register. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  4. ^ "Mr. Spammer, meet Bubba your new cell mate". ZDNet Blog: Between the Lines. Retrieved 2008-01-21.