Poppa Vs Papa, Are Both Of These Correct? When To Use Each

“Poppa” or “papa?” Wondering which one of these is incorrect? It just so happens that both of these terms are used to name one’s father. It will all depend on family customs and the familiarity that one may have regarding their father.

“Poppa” and “papa” are both used to name one’s father and are widely used and accepted worldwide. It is perfectly normal to use either or both terms, and it is known that “poppa” is used more often when we are little and “papa” when we grow a bit older.

In this article, we will go over the definitions, etymology, and grammatical structure of the words “papa” and “poppa.” Additionally, we will provide sample sentences for a better understanding of the terms. Read on!


According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the word “papa” means “one’s father.” This is precisely the exact definition of the word “poppa.” However, the word “papa” is also a code word for the letter P. The word “poppa” is also commonly used to name one’s grandfather. This last use will depend heavily on the relationship we have with our grandfather and the family traditions ingrained from generation to generation. 

poppa sign


As stated previously, the words “papa” and “poppa” are informal ways to name one’s father; therefore, the formal term to look at when searching for its origin is father. “Father,” 1680s, comes from French “papa,” which comes from Latin “papa,” originally a reduplicated child’s word, similar to Greek “pappa” (vocative) “o father,” “pappas” “father,” “pappos “grandfather.” The native word is “daddy;” according to OED the first use of “papa” was in courtly speech, as a continental affectation, and it was not used by common folk until the late 18th century.


  • Dad
  • Daddy
  • Pop
  • Pops
  • Dada
  • Pa
  • Old man
  • Begetter
  • Male parent
  • Daddio
  • Pappa
  • Pappy
  • Pater
  • Patriarch
  • Da


  • Child
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Baby
  • Infant
  • Newborn
  • Offspring
  • Progeny
  • Toddler
  • Youngster
  • Little One
  • Mother
  • Mum
  • Mom

Grammatical Structure

The words “papa” and “poppa” are both used in the same way, given that they are synonyms of each other. They are nouns. A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea. They are used either as the subject of a sentence or in the predicate as an object.


When “papa” or “poppa” is used, it implies a closer relationship, ties of everyday living, love, respect, and unity. It is mainly used in childhood within certain cultures but used throughout the entire Italian and Latin cultures.

papa in caps in the middle of many names

Example Sentences with “Papa”

  1. Papa had always protected her from such things, and still, she always managed to get into trouble.
  2. When papa passed away, I remember feeling very sad; and we remember him and all his adventures with such yearning.
  3. Papa’s eye met mine for a moment, and I knew he wasn’t feeling very well.
  4. Papa looked at me and said nothing, and I knew he was very disappointed at what I had done.
  5. Papa removed some of the violent passages from it. He said he didn’t want me to read such terrible things.
  6. Papa comes home for Christmas, and this time he is staying until spring. We are very much looking forward to his vacation with us.
  7. In his youth, papa had been an eager photographer. That was probably what led to him being such an adventurer.
  8. Papa and all of us deserved a better life. That inspired him to immigrate to Europe.
  9. Papa is ready to whip them all. No one messes with him or his family.
  10. Papa nods but doesn’t say anything. We just knew at that moment we were in so much trouble.
  11. Tom and papa slipped down beside him and tried to make sense of his behavior.
  12. I saw papa confused and disappointed. He wondered how she could do such a thing.
  13. So papa won’t be home tomorrow, he has to work an extra shift at the factory this week.
  14. I lost my papa two years ago tomorrow, and I still can’t get used to not seeing him when I come back home.
  15. He sometimes called him papa bear, he used to love this term of endearment.
  16. John saved papa, but a short time after that, he had another heart attack.
  17. Their papas were quiet, worthy men who worked their entire lives to raise their children to become honorable people.
  18. I was nine months old when my papa died, and I have to say I practically never knew him except through the pictures and stories my Mama told me.
  19. Laura’s graduation is one of those proud papa bear moments, and he has never been this proud of his daughter before.
  20. Papa’s interest in the subject was thoroughly nagging at him, and he started researching every detail with curiosity.

Sentences With “Poppa”

  1. My poppa at Christmas-time was dressed up as Santa Claus and brought us a large stack of presents.
  2. I did not know it was Poppa till weeks afterward. I felt a bit relieved when I understood what had happened.
  3. Poppa and Mamma will send me to the Conservatory of Music. It has been my dream since I was a child.
  4. Poppa wants to take him fishing next weekend, but he does not want to go.
  5. He hadn’t changed a thing, as if expecting poppa to come home at any minute.
  6. I’m sorry, Poppa, I was just curious. I didn’t mean to snoop in your drawer.
  7. Poppa dismissed the idea with a shake of his head. There was no way he was letting us go to that concert.
  8. Poppa would not permit the waste of a single drop of water, and he was very stern when it came to conserving water.
  9. We’ll get Poppa to buy you something a little more a la mode.
  10. Do not let them entirely forget Momma and Poppa if possible.
  11. We knew it would be such a disappointment to Poppa and Mama, too.
  12. Poppa would not mind our little well-meant deception.
  13. Poppa will have already described the journey to Momma.
  14. That night I spent the ten dollars Poppa had given me on some candy and comic books.
  15. As the lights dimmed down, we sang Christmas carols, and then Poppa passed out the presents.
  16. Now and then, as a favor to the board of directors, Poppa performed operations.
  17. How generous was the young man to loan his car to Poppa for our family’s needs?
  18. Poppa and Momma were very happy during their entire time together, and they had twelve children and twenty-five grandchildren.
  19. Poppa always loved to sit on the porch and watch the sunsets with a nice glass of iced tea and some crackers.
  20. My Poppa is the most special man in my life, and he is my protector, partner, and one true love.

Final Thoughts

Everyone has their unique way of calling one of the most influential people in their lives; their father. Whether you use “papa” or “poppa” will depend on the kind of relationship you have with your father and the type of family traditions your family carries out.

The formality of writing will also depend on the content you wish to convey; for instance, if you are writing a story and the setting was a long time ago, then the recommendation would be to use the term “poppa.” If you are writing a memoir, it will depend on the familiarity you wish the audience to have. If you are writing a formal paper, then the recommendation would be either “papa” or “father.” Everything will depend on your purpose for writing, the audience you wish to attract, and your style.


Shawn Manaher

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.