How to Say Father in German. Impress Your Dad with Your Great German!
Dads have a uniquely important impact in the lives of their children. If a child’s father is affectionate, supportive, and involved, he can contribute greatly to his or her development, well-being, and health. Mother and father or mom and dad are essential words in any language.
In today’s article, we will look into how to say father in German. While the German names are mostly quite similar to their English counterparts, there are some quirks arising from the particularities of the German language.
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How to Say Father in German.
There is More Than One Name.
The most universal translation of the rather formal “father” into English is (der) Vater. Don’t forget that “v” is pronounced differently than in English. It sounds like the English [f]. The pronunciation of Vater is, therefore, [faːtər] in the IPA transcription.
It is the direct equivalent of (die) Mutter – mother. Both are formal and only rarely used when addressing one’s parents. Below are some example sentences.
- Gehorche deinem Vater. – Obey your father.
- Das war der letzte Wille eures Vaters. – It was your father’s dying wish.
The plural form is Väter. It is pronounced [ˈfɛːtɐ]. The only other endings are Vaters in the genitive singular (see the example sentence above) and Vätern in the dative plural. As in Mit Freunden kann man leichter sprechen als mit Vätern. – Friends are easier to talk to than fathers.
How to Say Dad in German
Does father or Vater sound a bit stiff and stilted? Of course, there are more affectionate ways to say father in German. Let’s take a look at how to translate dad.
Nowadays, the most common word Germans use to address their dads is (der) Papa. As in Papa, leihst du mir dein Auto? – Dad, will you lend me your car? Below are more example sentences with Papa.
- Tut mir leid, Papa ist nicht zu Hause. – I’m sorry, my dad isn’t at home.
- Mama, Papa, ich muss euch etwas sagen. – Mom, Dad, I have got something to tell you. (Here you can see that the female equivalent of Papa is die Mama.)
Another possible translation of dad into German is (der) Papi as opposed to (die) Mami for mom. As in Mein Papi ist der beste Papi des Universums. – My daddy is the best daddy in the universe.
Das Väterchen or der Daddy? It Depends on How Cool You Want to Sound.
Das Väterchen is a diminutive of der Vater. Compare it with das Mütterchen. It is considered old-fashioned and currently used mostly only in the expression Väterchen Frost (Father Frost or Jack Frost in English).
Der Daddy is, on the other hand, gaining popularity among German teenagers as it is the case with many other words of English origin.
- Hast du schon einen Brief an Väterchen Frost geschrieben. – Have you already written a letter to Father Frost.
- Dein Daddy ist sicher stolz auf dich. – Surely, your dad is proud of you.
How to Say “Our Father” in German
The translation of the beginning of The Lord’s Prayer, also called the Our Father, into German is Vater unser. It is pronounced [ˌfaːtɐˈ(ʔ)ʊnzɐ]. Unser means “our.” It typically precedes the noun as in Unser Vater spielt gern Tennis. – Our father likes playing tennis.
In the religious context, you can come across Heiliger Vater – Holy Father or Himlischer Vater – Heavenly Father. “Father” can also be used when referring to a Catholic priest in English. The correct German translation, in this case, is (der) Pfarrer.
Other Common Phrases and Expressions with Father in German
There are several expressions related to dads in the German language. Some of them cannot be translated literally. Below is a short list of the most interesting ones.
- Ach, du dicker Vater! – Oh my goodness! This is an informal expression that shows surprise. Dick means thick or fat in German.
- Vielleicht war der Wunsch der Vater des Gedankens. – Maybe, the wish was father to the thought. It means the same in German and in English. People are more inclined to believe that which they wish or hope to be true.
- Wie der Vater, so der Sohn. – Like father, like son. Similarly, you can also say ganz der Vater when you want to say that someone is just like his or her father.
- War dein Vater Glaser? – This phrase literally means “Was your father a glasser?” and it is used when someone blocks your view, for example, when watching TV. Use it when you want to say “You aren’t transparent. Get out of the way!”.
How to Say Mother in German
When talking about how to say father in German we can’t forget to mention the most common words Germans use when referring to their mothers. Let’s take a look at the female equivalents.
der Vater (formal)
der Papa (affectionate)
der Vati (old-fashioned)
der Papi (affectionate)
das Väterchen (old-fashioned)
das Mütterchen or das Mütterlein
Below are some example sentences with mothers or moms.
- Ich rede seit vier Jahren nicht mit meiner Mutter. – I haven’t talked to my mother in four years.
- Komm, Hans, ich bringe dich zu deiner Mutti. – Come on, Johnny, I’ll take you to your mommy.
- Du behandelst mich wie ein Kind, Mama! – You are treating me like a child, mom!
- Mami wird sich um dich kümmern. – Mommy will take care of you.
- Bist du bereit für unsere Reise zu Mütterchen Russland? – Are you ready for our journey to Mother Russia? (Like Väterchen, Mütterchen is nowadays also used only in certain expressions, such as Mütterchen Russland.)
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Vaterschaftsanerkennung and Other Compound Words Related to Father in German
As usual, there are countless compound words that contain the word Vater in the German language. Some of them are quite long, such as (die) Vaterschaftsanerkennung – acknowledgment of paternity. Our article wouldn’t be complete without looking at the most common ones.
- Part of the word Vaterschaftsanerkennung is (die) Vaterschaft which means paternity or fatherhood. (Paul ist 20 Jahre alt und bereitet sich auf seine Vaterschaft vor. – Paul is 20 and preparing for fatherhood.)
- (Das) Vaterland means “home country.” (Ich verteidige das Vaterland. – I’m defending my home country.)
- (Der) Urvater translates as forefather or ancestor. (Meine Urväter liegen hier. – My ancestors lie here.)
- (Der) Großvater is one of the most common compound words and means grandfather. (Dein Großvater hätte diese Meinung sicher geteilt. – Your grandfather would have surely understood.)
- (Der) Beichtvater – confessor (Immer dem Beichtvater die Wahrheit sagen. – Always tell your confessor the truth.)
- Väterlich is an adjective derived from Vater and means paternal or fatherly. (Ich fühle seine väterliche Liebe bis zum heutigen Tag. – I feel his fatherly love to this day.)
We hope you have found our article helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments below. We will be more than happy to hear from you!