Meaning of BABBO in Italian

Babbo in Italian

Babbo is a local translation for dad or daddy. It is a local translation because it’s used this way only in Tuscany. In all other Italian regions, dad is translated as papà.

Babbo
Dad, daddy

We call Father Christmas Babbo Natale. Babbo is even featured in the book Le avventure di Pinocchio, The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi, an Italian author born in Florence (Tuscany).

pinocchio

If you think about it, babbo in Italian is not so different from dad or daddy. Young children like to utter sounds that are full of m‘s, “ma-ma”, or d‘s, “da-da”. They also love b‘s, “ba-ba”.

Papà, on the other hand, comes from the Greek πάπας and is used in all other parts of Italy.

Never confuse papà, dad, with Papa, Pope. The first is lowercase and has an accent mark on the last vowel. Their pronunciation is also different.

Papà, Papa
Dad, Pope


Babbo in Italian: Examples

Il mio babbo lavora in una falegnameria.
My dad works in a carpentry shop.

Sono andato al cinema con il mio babbo.
I went to the movies with my dad.

Io e il mio babbo andiamo spesso a pescare al lago.
My dad and I often go fishing at the lake.

a man fishing

I promised you an interesting fact about the word babbo in Italian, didn’t I?

Well, don’t ever use babbo outside of Tuscany with people you don’t know. In Sicily and Apulia, for example, babbo is a common term that means “stupid” or “dumb”.

Many Italian words that feature the BA- and BABB- cluster are synonyms for “stupid” or describe negative actions. There’s babbaleo and babbio, which are regional terms for babbeo, the standard translation for “fool, dumb”, and babbuino, baboon.

You can also find babbione, a very colloquial term that also means “dumb”. From babbione you get vecchia babbiona, which is used to describe a dumb old woman (don’t use this!).

Babbeo, babbaleo, babbio, babbuino, vecchia babbiona.
Dumb, dumb, dumb, baboon, old dumb woman.

Finally, babbo in Italian is also related to babbano, which is the official Italian translation for Muggle from the Harry Potter books!

Babbano
Muggle

three different workers

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