SURVEY SAYS – What Do You Call "Dad?"

June 17, 2009 ( - There's a famous quote that goes something like, "Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad" (there's an interesting derivation of that is in the movie Parenthood).

That quote notwithstanding, “Dad” goes by many names – and this week, I asked readers what you call/called yours.  

Far and away, the most common name for Dad was….”Dad”, cited by 53.2% of this week’s respondents.   Second most common was “Daddy”, noted by 17%.   The next most common (2.1%) was Pop/Pops, though 6.4% said that “more than one of the above” names applied.

Other names specifically cited were Papa , Pappie , Poppie , and Pap .  

For the vast majority – 80.6% – that name was the only name they had ever had for their Dad (or at least as far back as they could remember), though the remaining one-in-five had had at least one other name.     

But as for those names, the remaining 17% chose “other”, including those listed on the next pages:

  • 'A**hole' (under my breath, of course)..
  • Pap
  • Daddy when I was young and dad as we got much older. Yet when he died, I put Daddy on the flowers in his casket.
  • "George" - that's not his name, just a family tradition of what we call dads and uncles
  • Ba (Vietnamese for dad)
  • Gambo (A combination of Grand Dad and Rambo). He was named this by his grand children and it stuck.
  • I would refer to him as Dad or Daddykins.
  • Daddio
  • My Father was killed in a car accident when I was 2. My Mom's Dad was my Father figure. I called him Jido, which is Arabic for grandfather.
  • I called my dad "Dad"...but my father-in-law is refered to as "Whitey", having to do with the fact that he was/is prematurely gray.
  • While my siblings and I refer to and call our father "Dad", I also call him "Dool", which is part of his family name, and later learned is the nickname of all his family. Standing in a parking lot after a family funereal a few years ago, I turned and called to my dad, "Yo Dool" to which about 15 or more of his cousins turned and answered.
  • My father is Dad and my wife's father is Pops.
  • Da
  • OTM / short for "Old Timing Man". It was a phrase used in a Cheech & Chong movie. Instead of "Old Timer" or "Old Man", it was funny and it stuck. "OTM" became the shortened version and it stuck. I don't think I've ever told him where it came from, though.
  • Buddy but never Pops
  • A more interesting question might be what you called your grandfathers. I called mine granddad and pappy.
  • Still call him Dad on occasion, but now that he's 95 and I'm almost 60, we have been calling him "JW" (his initials and what many of his adult peers called him as we were growing up) for many years now.
  • As I mentoned above, He was named this by his grand children and it stuck. Before that it was Dad
  • Although when I was annoyed by something it would usually come out Daaaaaaaad with some attitude.
  • "Dad" primarily, "Pop" occassionally, "something unprintable" every now and then, but not to his face.
  • When I was younger I thought I was cool and called him Pop. Of course you grow older and realize you were never cool.
  • well, he was Daddy until I was about 8 years old, I believe. Now that I have kids, sometimes he just goes by Grandpa for everyone.
  • When I was a child, my oldest sister was a 'Daddio' cherrleader (no idea how they came up with that name). The name stuck as our nickname for Dad, and after all these years, it still makes him smile when my sisters and I call him that.
  • when my sisters and I refer to my Dad, though, we call him 'Daddy'
  • Certainly by the time I got to college, the use of that affectionate term was habit, not affection.
  • Over the years, "Dad" has been the constant. Dad seems to deserve better than "More than one of the above" including the "Other" category (nothing vulgar, e.g. "Moneybags").
  • At age 21, I became self-conscious about calling my father "Daddy." But then I heard a forty-something friend call her 80-year-old father Daddy, and I realized that some men are just Daddy's and it would be wrong to call them anything else.
  • Daddy when I was younger
  • I called him Daddy as a child and Dad in between then Daddy again as he became older and more dependent on me.
  • Now we just call him Old Man or Dad
  • sometimes poppie or pooh
  • Even at 45, I call my father "Daddy". Of course, I also call him by his nickname "Old Fart". 😉
  • Prior to my teen years, it was Daddy...but I always used a "Sir" when answering Yes or No to a question, as well as to any other adult male...and still do.
  • I called him dad until my kids were born and then because they needed to call him "grandpa", I have since called him grandpa!! He's the best no matter we call him.

But this week's Editor's Choice goes to the reader who said, "My dad insisted that us kids call him "The Most Wonderful Magnificent Man in the World" or he would tickle us to death."

Thanks to everyone for participating in our survey!