sugar daddy


noun Informal.

a wealthy, middle-aged man who spends freely on a young woman in return for her companionship or intimacy.

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Origin of sugar daddy

First recorded in 1915–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does sugar daddy mean?

A sugar daddy is an older man who may throw gifts, allowances, and trips on a younger woman or man in exchange for a consensual sexual relationship.

How do you pronounce sugar daddy?

[shoo g-er dad-ee]

Where does sugar daddy come from?

There are two ingredients to sugar daddy. The first is sugar, slang for “money” and “expensive gifts” reaching back to the 19th century. The second is daddy, a colloquial term for a man of some age—and power—also found in the 19th century.

Put them together and you get the sugar daddy, that species of older man looking for sexual gratification in a younger partner, which he achieves through his wealth and influence. The term is evidenced as early as 1917.

It’s not a relationship built on love, exactly. The sugar daddy, no longer at his peak, gets the thrill of youth and beauty from this exchange. The sugar baby, as the younger counterpart is sometimes called, gets gifts, trips, play money, and a plush lifestyle. But the affair, dubbed sugar dating in the 2010s, is considered consensual.

Since the early 1900s, sugar daddy has spread. For one thing, we’ve extended the term to metaphorical sugar daddies, like big businesses that spend heavily on pet projects.

We’ve explored the phenomenon in popular culture, from Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 “Sugar Daddy” to the 2014 film Sugar Daddies.

And, we’ve labeled plenty of real-life relationships with sugar daddy, including Playboy‘s Hugh Hefner, actor Charlie Sheen, and Donald Trump. The implication is that, if it weren’t for their money, these sugar daddies would not have the women they do.

The 2000s have taken sugar daddy to the next level. There’s a conference called the Sugar Baby Summit delivered by SeekingArrangement, a service “where Sugar Babies enjoy a life of luxury by being pampered with fine dinners, exotic trips and allowances. In turn, Sugar Daddies or Mommas find beautiful members to accompany them at all times.”

How is sugar daddy used in real life?

One the one hand, sugar daddy can imply the younger part in the relationship is a sex worker or gold-digger.

On the other hand, some fantasize about finding themselves a sugar daddy so they can quit that 9–5, exchanging kisses for karats.

As noted, the younger partner is the sugar baby

https://twitter.com/SugarGiftDaddy/status/1008090135051821056

… and sugar momma (or mama) is the sugar daddy‘s female counterpart. Unlike the sugar daddy, she’s generally seen as attractive—a MILF or cougar, and her younger man may be the boy toy.

More examples of sugar daddy:

“I also knew, based on a story my colleague Tanza Loudenback had published on sugar daddies who help sugar babies with their college tuition, that the lifestyle wasn’t all about multi-thousand-dollar Chanel bags and trips to Tahiti.”
—Shana Lebowitz, Business Insider, June, 2018

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

British Dictionary definitions for sugar daddy

sugar daddy

noun

slang a rich usually middle-aged or old man who bestows expensive gifts on a young person in return for companionship or sexual favours
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with sugar daddy

sugar daddy

A wealthy, usually older man who gives expensive gifts to someone much younger in return for companionship or sexual favors. For example, The aspiring young actress and the sugar daddy are a classic combination in Hollywood. The sugar in this term alludes to the sweetening role of the gifts, and daddy to the age difference between the pair. [Early 1900s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.