|Me and my Dad. They don't make moustaches likes that anymore.|
Noun. Mid-16th century.
[Perhaps imitative of infants' first speech.]
1 Father. colloquial. M16
2 Used as a form of address to a man other than one's own father. slang (esp. JAZZ). M20
Dad is the most common first word for the same reasons that mum (or one of its variants like mama) is the second most common - it's a relatively simple sound for a baby to make. That, of course, and the fact that mum and dad are virtually a child's entire universe for the first 18 months or so.
Interestingly, the dad sound is ubiquitous: Welsh tad, Irish daid, Latin tata, Greek tata, Sanskrit tatah. But these words aren't necessarily cognates; the OED notes that they arose independently. Language, it seems, is universally accommodating to babies' linguistic abilities. Of course, perhaps none of the above is the real reason dad is the most common first word. Maybe it's just that dads are great. Yeah. That's it I reckon. Dads are great.
Was dad your or your child's first word?
Do you (like me) capitalise dad when talking about Dad?
Do please leave your most paternal comments in the box below.