From Middle English babe, a variant of earlier baban, perhaps from Old English *baba (“boy, child”), from Proto-Germanic *babô, reduplicated variant of *ba-, *bō- (“father, brother, close male relation”).
Related to Old Frisian bobba (“child”) (whence North Frisian babbe, babb, babe (“child”)), Old High German Babo (a male forename), see boy. Otherwise, origin obscure. Compare mama, dada, papa. Welsh baban (“baby”), believed by Skeat to be a mutation of maban, a diminutive of mab ("son"), is probably rather a borrowing from English. Cognate also with English bub.
babe (plural babes)
- (literary or poetic) A baby or infant; a very young human or animal. [from 14th c.]
- These events came to pass when he was but a babe.
- 1874, James Thomson, The City of Dreadful Night:
- Though he possess sweet babes and loving wife,
A home of peace by loyal friendships cheered,
And love them more than death or happy life,
- (slang) An attractive person, especially a young woman. [from 20th c.]
- 2002, Charles Hebbert, Dan Richardson, The Rough Guide to Budapest, 2nd edition, London: Rough Guides, →ISBN, page 73:
- During the 1980s, its vivid streetlife became a symbol of the “consumer socialism” that distinguished Hungary from other Eastern Bloc states, but Budapesters today are rather less enamoured of Váci: dressed-to-kill babes and their sugar daddies would rather pose in malls, and teenagers can find McDonald's anywhere, leaving Váci utterly dependent on tourists for its livelihood and bustle.
- She's a real babe!
- (endearing) Darling (term of endearment).
- Hey, babe, how's about you and me getting together?
- 1916 March 11, Charles E. Van Loan, “His Folks”, in Saturday Evening Post:
- But, Babe, you don't have to meet 'em if you don't want to.
- (infant): baby, child, infant
- (attractive person): looker; See Thesaurus:beautiful person
- (woman): hottie, doll, fox; See: Thesaurus:beautiful woman
- (darling): darling, dear, love, sweetheart
- ^ Whitney, The Century dictionary and cylcopedia, babe.
From Old English *baba.
babe (plural babes)
- “bābe, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- inflection of babar:
babe f pl
babe (Cyrillic spelling бабе)
- inflection of baba:
From Proto-Bantu *bààbá.
babé class 1a (plural bóbabé class 2a)
This noun needs an inflection-table template.