A kind of plum cake.
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As one of the first utterances many babies are able to say, baba (like mama, papa, and dada) has come to be used in many languages as a term for various family members: father: Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Marathi, Hindi, Bengali, Persian, Swahili, Turkish, Yoruba grandmother: many Slavic language (such as Bulgarian, Russian and Polish), Yiddish, Japanese baby: Afrikaans, Sinhala These terms often continue to be used by English speakers whose families came from one of these cultures. In some cases, they may become more widely used in localities that have been heavily influenced by an immigrant community. Some senses were extensions of one of these family terms in the original languages ("old woman" from "grandmother", "holy man" from "father"). The "cake" sense comes through French, from Polish baba (“old woman”). The Middle Eastern word baba (as in Ali Baba) is rather a term of endearment, and is ultimately derived from Persian بابا (bābā, “father”) (from Old Persian pāpa; as opposed to the Arabic words ابو (’ábu) and أب (’ab), as well as the Turkish word ata; see also Papak) , and is linguistically related to the common European word papa and the word pope, having the same Indo-European origin.
baba (plural babas) A kind of sponge cake soaked in rum-flavoured syrup. (esp. among people of East European ancestry) A grandmother. 1993, Karen Dubinsky, Improper Advances: Rape and Heterosexual Conflict in Ontario, 1880-1929, University of Chicago Press My baba, Ksenia Dubinsky, tells me that my education makes her proud. 2001, Brattleboro Remembers, edited by the Brattleboro Historical Society, Arcadia Publishing I walked first for my grandmother, and my mother was sorry she had missed my first steps. My Baba was so proud, my mother later told me. 2004, A Woman's Europe: True Stories, edited by MaryBeth Bond As we made eye contact, I slowly began to wonder if she was Baba. I did not know my grandmother though I'd spoken with her several times on the telephone; An old woman, especially a traditional old woman from an eastern European culture. 1914, Russell Sage Foundation, Wage-earning Pittsburgh Only two women, typical "babas" (peasant women) in the house from which I got my quilt and bedcloth, could be coaxed to pose; 1986, Janice Kulyk Keefer, The Paris-Napoli Express Laura hadn't known that anyone's mother could look like that, like the babas you sometimes saw downtown, bandaged in kerchiefs and aprons, sitting toothless in stockinged feet on small verandahs, peeling potatoes or beets or just shaking their heads and grimacing. 2003, Food Tourism Around The World: Development, Management and Markets, edited by Colin Michael Hall and Liz Sharples According to some, new volunteers are becoming more difficult to recruit and there are dark suggestions that 'money is being made on the backs of the babas', the dedicated, but ageing ladies who still spend countless hours of their time preparing foodstuffs for the occasion. (esp. among people of Indian ancestry) A father. 1849, Edward Bulwer Lytton, The Caxtons The first time I signed my exercise I wrote "Pisistratus Caxton" in my best round-hand. "And dey call your baba a scholar!" said the Doctor, contemptuously. 1998, Mulan (movie) "The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter. I've missed you so." "I've missed you too, baba." 2002, Bend It Like Beckham (movie) Okay. Okay. Fine, baba. Let's just do it before something else goes wrong. 2003, House of Sand and Fog (movie) "Do not be disrespectful, son. Look at me." "Baba, were you a Savaki?" (Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism) A holy man, a spiritual leader. 1995, Hugh J.M. Johnston and Tara Singh Bains, The Four Quarters of the Night: The Life-Journey of an Emigrant Sikh While I was in Port Alberni, three babas came to Canada to raise money ... 2004, Andrew Robinson, Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye: The Biography of a Master Film-Maker But according to Ray, 'all the babas my uncle knew were genuine. None of them was exposed. They were fairly humble people, not show-offs like the Maharishi ... 2006, Suraiya Faroqhi, Subjects Of The Sultan: Culture And Daily Life In The Ottoman Empire Most babas had little contact with written culture and are not therefore named in books and treatises. (India, dated) A baby, child. 1876, Sir George Otto Trevelyan, The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay That is to say, if I do not take care, I shall go on calling my darling 'Baba' till she is as old as her mamma, and has a dozen Babas of her own. 1904, Rudyard Kipling, Traffics and Discoveries For my child is dead--my baba is dead! In baby talk, often used for a variety of words beginning with b, such as bottle or blanket. 2004, House (TV, episode 1.14) Oh, it's storytime! Let me get my baba.
baba (present baba, present participle babaende, past participle gebaba) to treat with gentle care, to coddle
Adverb baba low
baba (informal, chiefly in Austria) see you, so long
abab abba, ABBA
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