baby daddy

or baby-daddy or baby father

[bey-bee dad-ee] or [fah-th er]

What does baby daddy mean?

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A baby daddy is slang for the biological father of a child, regardless of whether or not he is in a relationship with the mother–although the term usually implies he's not. It can be used as either a disparaging term or a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek one, depending on context.

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Examples of baby daddy

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Examples of baby daddy
Bristol Palin struggled over a financial contract issue with her baby daddy Levi Johnston on Monday's episode of Teen Mom OG.
Daily Mail, November 2018
I’m m so thankful for my husband, my future baby daddy, my kitty slayer, my left and right kidney, my booty muncher, my aortic valve, my frontal lobe, my NyQuil cause the dick put me to sleep, and most importantly my throat massager ❤️ I love you 🥰
@zeebankss, November 2018

Where does baby daddy come from?

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Like its female counterpart baby mama, the origins of baby daddy are unclear and somewhat disputed.

According to linguist John McWhorter, dropping the possessive marker s, as in baby’s daddy, comes from lower-class English dialects, particularly in historic Yorkshire, England. Some poor people with these particular dialects were sent to work in the fields alongside African slaves in the US.

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These slaves, who were learning English, adopted the practice of dropping the possessive s, too. Their descendants, who speak African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) or simply Black English, carried on the practice, yielding an expression like baby daddy for a baby’s father.

Alternatively, linguist Peter L. Patrick claims use of the expression baby daddy (and its counterpart baby mama) comes from such Jamaican English forms as baby fadda and baby madda.

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It’s possible that both explanations are partly true. Poor English people were sent, as we know, to work on the plantations in Jamaica as well.

The expression baby’s daddy appears in black nursery rhymes dating to at least the 1870s. The expression without the possessive s wasn’t popularized, however, until the 1990s, spread in part through hip-hop music. Baby mama, for her part, appears to have spread through Jamaican dancehall music in the 1960s.

Who uses baby daddy?

The term baby daddy literally refers to the father of a baby. The slang implication, however, is that the father isn’t in the child-rearing picture.

While the term baby daddy originated in Black English, it’s gone mainstream thanks to quite a few hip-hop and R&B songs, such as the 1997, old-school jam “My Baby Daddy” by B-Rock and The Bizz. You’ll also see baby daddy used of celebrity parents in the tabloids.

Baby Daddy is also the name of an ABC sitcom inspired by the classic film Three Men and a Baby, which has been running since 2012. The plot revolves around a bachelor, Ben, who is surprised when his one-night stand leaves their resulting baby on his doorstep. This show helped further popularize the expression baby daddy in American pop culture.

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The term baby daddy carries other connotations. It can be used as a derogatory, implying that the man isn’t in a relationship with the baby’s mother, that he doesn’t spend a lot of time with his kids, that he doesn’t pay child support or is unreliable in general. However, it’s also been adopted in a more positive, if tongue-in-cheek, way to refer to the father of someone’s baby.

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Given its close association with black culture, white people using baby daddy may come off as appropriative in some contexts.

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