Yes, SEVEN meanings with just the four letters P-A-P-A. And if you mix in a couple other words with PAPA then there are even more.
In a recent article Ignore These 5 Fundamentals to Become Fluent Faster I stated that beginning Spanish learners should ignore the El/La articles on nouns, as well as the accents on words.
However, with PAPA, if you follow my advice from that article, you may confuse your father with a potato or the Pope. Or you may think someone suggested giving your baby drugs instead of a milk bottle. These extreme changes in the meanings of PAPA are only clarified by an article, an accent or a country’s border.
Here are the various meanings of PAPA in Spanish
1. la papa (everywhere): the potato.
2. el Papa (everywhere): the Pope, note here the capitalization of the first P. This is an easy sign the word refers to the supreme pontiff.
3. el papá (everywhere): dad, daddy
4. papá (Puerto Rico): man, dude. Ex. ‘Mano, ese carro que comprastes está aniquelao, está nitido, papá.
5. la papa (Chile): a baby’s milk bottle (yes this is the same article, spelling and accent as the word for potato).
6. papa (Mexico): easy, as an adverb this usage of papa would not have any type of el/la article.
7. la papa (Chile): the hole in a sock, often where your toe sticks out.
Phrases, sayings and idioms using PAPA in Spanish
1. no entender ni papa (Mexico and Puerto Rico): to have no clue, no idea whatsoever.
2. estar en las papas (Puerto Rico): to be comfortable in life. For instance, it means everything’s going well, I’ve got no reason to complain. An example would be that you don’t work, have all your bills paid for you, travel when you want, things are perfect.
3. queso de papa (Puerto Rico): no this is not potato cheese. For some unknown reason this cheese is described using the word papa. It is just a regular, run-of-the mail cheddar cheese. It’s generally locally made and inexpensive.
4. echar la papa (Mexico): scarfing down a bit to eat.
5. tomarse una papa (Argentina): to get high. Ex. Este se tomó una papa.
Know any other Spanish PAPA uses?
Check out these other articles to help you Learn Spanish.
Featured photo credit: 1. potatoes by FotoosVanRobin | 2. POPE by BRAYDAWG | 3. Oh Darn by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious | 4. MY Latte! by valentinapowers | 5. Cocaine by Valerie Everett | 6. Father/Son A and B by heymarchetti via flickr