An English speaker on Earth could be reasonably expected to be familiar with either the Dutch "vader" meaning father or the very similar German "vater", also meaning father.

Obviously German and Dutch don't exist the Star Wars universe, but we have been told that dialects and accents in the spoken English from the movies correspond to dialects and accents in Galactic Basic. This leaves it a bit unclear regarding words borrowed from sibling languages which share phonetic ancestry with English but aren't present in English itself.

Finally, we know from this answer that Sidious named Anakin "Darth Vader" with help from The Force. We don't know exactly the intent of The Force in giving him that name, though it seems reasonable that it named him something intended to carry at least some meaning to speakers of Galactic Basic, like "Sidious", "Maul", and "Plagueis", with all of their dark connotations.

So can we assume that The Force intentionally gave him a name that carried some connotations of "father", and that there is some Dutch/German-equivalent cousin of Galactic Basic out there that speakers of Galactic Basic might have some familiarity with, or did The Force name Vader a nonsense word that we wouldn't expect Basic speakers to infer any meaning from at all?

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    If they are non-sense words in Galactic Basic that would be hilarious. the equivalent of Darth Flibbity on Earth?
    – Skooba
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 12:05
  • 1
    Possible answer?: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/28186/25033 Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 12:28
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    @Parrotmaster while that provides some interesting out-of-universe context, I'm interested in an in-universe answer here. I'm asking, what connotations would the word "Vader" (translated into Galactic Basic) carry for your average native Galactic Basic speaker, so what it meant or didn't mean to George Lucas isn't exactly what I'm looking for. Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 12:55
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    So, would a hypothetical "Darth Gift" be from the English for "present / skill", or the German for "poison"? I suspect you're reading too much into this, and getting into cargo-cult territory... Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 13:09
  • So all this time it was really "Darth Daddy"...
    – user25730
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 21:12

2 Answers 2


According to Star Wars creator George Lucas, he experimented with various combinations of names for the character built upon the phrase "Dark Water". Then he "added lots of last names, Vaders and Wilsons and Smiths, and ... just came up with the combination of Darth and Vader". After the release of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lucas stated that the name Vader was based upon the German/Dutch-language word Vater or vader, meaning 'father', making the name representative of a "Dark Father.

So not sure if there is a equivalent of German/Dutch in the Star Wars Universe but George Lucas deliberately named him so.

Out of universe George named him not the force, in universe I am not sure.


Or maybe everything that George Lucas said was a lie.

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    The question of whether "Vader" is actually a word in Galactic Standard or some other in-universe language, or whether it's a translation, is still open.
    – Spencer
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 17:08

Anakin Skywalker's title was intentional; Lucas deliberately made it "Dark Father" (Darth Vader) for obvious reasons. But if you think about it, Galactic Basic has a different alphabet. This makes it reasonable to assume that it also has its own phonetics and its own words. This means that it's probably just a word that sounds sinister in Basic. So aside from intimidation points, it's also a distinct word that gives Vader a better reputation. So no, it has no connotations to "father" as you have asked. (Basically, German doesn't exist in the galaxy far, far away.)

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    Those ‘obvious reasons’ don’t happen to have something to do with an aspect of the character that was never intended at the time he was created and named, would it? Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 4:40
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    Citation needed on that first sentence...
    – AakashM
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 12:05
  • Lucas intended Luke to be Vader's son from the beginning; nobody else knew until the filming of ESB. Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 15:52
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    I don't feel this answer is supported. It's opinion. Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 17:18

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