- noun a man, usually one who is old. A variant of ‘Dad’ and ‘Daddy’, used as a term of address. It originated in the jive talk of black jazz musicians in the 1940s, and was adopted by the beatniks of the 1950s. The word implied a degree of respect or affection, usually for someone older or in authority. In later use, e.g. by British teddy boys and beatniks, it was often a teasing or mocking form of address.