A mocking reference to God, especially "God the Father
", or the Old Testament patriarchical
God. The term was coined by the English poet
and mystic William Blake
(see To Nobodaddy
). This is an excerpt from Blake's poem When Klopstock England defied
Then again old Nobodaddy swore,
George Bernard Shaw
He ne'er had seen such a thing before,
Since Noah was shut in the ark,
Since Eve first chose her hellfire spark,
Since 'twas the fashion to go naked,
Since the old Anything was created...
used it in Back to Methuselah
The moment Nobodaddy was slain by Darwin, Public Opinion, as divine deputy, lost its sanctity.
And in Joyce's Ulysses:
Whether these be sins or virtues, old Nobodaddy will tell us at doomsday leet.
The word used as a specific reference to God gradually turned into a general reference for anyone or thing that had once been held in esteem, but is now contemptible. The OED
gives a quote from 1962, Listener
29 Nov 932/1:
Goethe is in danger of turning into a Nobodaddy - a booming, boring member of that depressed class, the illustrious Dead.
The word is sometimes found in book, story and play titles, such as Nobodaddy
, a play by Archibald MacLeish
, and Nobodaddy's Children
by Arno Schmidt.