Slang dictionary

daddy issues

[dad-ee ish-oos]

What does daddy issues mean?

Daddy issues is an informal phrase for the psychological challenges resulting from an absent or abnormal relationship with one’s father, often manifesting in a distrust of, or sexual desire for, men who act as father figures.

Where does daddy issues come from?

Examples of daddy issues

I gotta be able to call my man daddy. These daddy issues ain't going nowhere so he's gotta be into that.
@Ebony_QT, March, 2018
With his mommy and daddy issues sufficiently exorcised, Graham moves onto more adult worries with Forget the Night Ahead...
Ryan Dombal, Pitchfork, September, 2009
Lingering in the back of my head like a bad memory was the notion that yes, my 'daddy issues' had severely impacted my ability to love myself much less anyone else.
Michelle Dempsey, HuffPost, April, 2017

Who uses daddy issues?

Daddy issues is primarily used of women in colloquial speech and writing, both online and off, and mainly in the context of romance, dating, and sex.

Its connotation varies by context. When used by women of themselves, daddy issues can be earnest, used by women to explain recurrent behaviors in relationships, or humorous, used in lighthearted self-deprecation of those issues. When used by men of women, it can be dismissive or even misogynistic, diminishing undesirable traits in women. Dating advice websites for men, for example, may advise a man not to date a girl with daddy issues. In LGBTQ communities, daddy issues can be used in the context of a man in a relationship with an older man.

Mommy issues is the maternal equivalent, which is used more evenly across genders. It still carries the negative connotation of daddy issues, and it is used to describe emotionally unavailable men. Its sexual implications, however, are far less pronounced.

Given the negative connotation of daddy issues, psychologists generally label relationship challenges with fathers as a father complex, among other terms.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of daddy issues like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of daddy issues that will help our users expand their word mastery.