“Grandchildren fill a place in your heart that you didn’t know was empty”
What an exciting time it was, we look back at the moment we found out we were having our first child. Where has the time gone, we ask? Now our baby is having a baby. Once the tears of joy are wiped away, lots of questions come to mind, most of which we have no control over. Boy or girl? Will they want us there for the birth? What type of birth (we all have thoughts on this)? How much involvement will they want or allow in the child’s upbringing? Finally, our thoughts settle on something we may have a say in, the name we want our grandchild to call us. What do we want our grandparent name to be?
Choosing the right grandparent name may seem like a trivial matter, but it holds significant importance in shaping the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. This name is not merely a label; it becomes an endearing identity that reflects the unique bond shared between generations. It holds the power to create lasting memories and contribute to the overall grandparenting experience. Grandparent names often reflect unique family traditions, cultural influences, personalities, and personal preferences. Some parents are cool with traditional Grandma and Grandpa, others come to realize there may be so many grandparents involved that first names are warranted. Now when I grew up, most grandparents were called traditional Grandma and Grandpap. I have heard of those who want the grandchild to choose or parents who want a heavy say in the name. Whatever name is chosen, is personal. In our family, my husband and I were able to choose. We are called Mimi and Slim. I think of myself as a hip and sassy grandma, but I chose my more traditional name after a dear friend. How easy is Mimi for a toddler to say?! My husband decided his name would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not a bad idea (why didn’t I think of that!) However, if you get to choose a name you may need some help, so here are some names to get you thinking.
Unique Grandparent Names, Sassy Grandparent Names, Traditional Grandparent Names, and Everything in Between
Complete List of Grandparent Names from Around the World:
Why not choose a name with some meaning from your roots? Here’s a handy list of names from around the world:
- An Australian grandma would be Mamaay or Momu and grandpa would be Waayamaa or Maili
- In the Basque region of northeast Spain / southwest France grandma would be Amatchi or Amona and grandpa would be Aitona
- A Croatian grandma is Baka and grandpa is Dido
- A Danish grandma is Mormor and grandpa is Bedstefar
- In Eskimo, grandma could be Aanaga or more commonly, Aana
- A French grandma is Grandmère, grandpa is Grandpère
- A German grandma is Oma and grandpa is Opa
- In Greek grandma is Yaya or Giagia, grandpa is Pappous
- In Hawaiian a grandma is Kuku wahine or Tutu, grandpa is Kuku wahine or simply Tutu
- In Hungarian a grandma is Nagymama and a grandpa is Nagypapa
- In Iceland, a grandma is Amma and grandpa is Afi (How cute is that!)
- In India, a grandma is Awa and a grandpa is Tata
- An Irish grandma would be called Mamo´ or Seanmha´thair whereas a grandpa would be called Daideo or Seansheánathair
- In Isreal a grandma is Savta and grandpa is Sabba
- An Italian grandma is Nonna and grandpa is Nonno
- A Japanese grandma is O bassan or simply Sobo and a grandfather is O jiichan or Sofu
- In Kenya a grandma is called Bibi and grandpa is called Babu
- In Korean, a child might call his grandma Halmi or Halmeoni and call his grandpa Hal-abeoji
- A Lebanese grandma may be Sitti and grandpa, Jid
- In Singapore or Malaysia grandma is Nenek and grandpa is Datuk
- A Navajo Indian grandma would be Ama Sani
- In the Philippines a grandma is Lola and grandpa is Lolo
- A Polish grandma is Babcia, Babula or simply Baba and a grandpa is Dzidzia
- A Portuguese grandma is Avo and Volvos is the name for grandpa
- A Romanian grandma is Bunica and grandpa is Bunic
- In Russia, a grandma is called Babushka (yes, just like the nesting dolls) and a grandpa is Dedushka
- A Serbian grandma is Baba and grandpa is Deda
- South African grandmas are called Gogo or Ugogo and grandpas are calledUmkhulu
- In Spanish, a grandmother is named Abuela and grandfather is Abuelo
- In Turkey, grandma would be Anneanne
- A Ukrainian grandma is Gigi and grandfather is Baba
- A Vietnamese grandma would simply be Ba (you really can’t get easier for a toddler to say!)
- A Welsh grandma is Nain and grandpa is Taid
- In Yiddish, a grandma would be known as Bubby, Bubbe, Bube, or Bubbie
The diversity of grandparent names celebrates the richness of cultures and family bonds. However, if this list doesn’t suit you there are some other interesting choices to consider.
Biblical grandparent Names
I find this to be an interesting and unique twist to use a name that has a specific religious meaning. For families with religious backgrounds, biblical grandparent names hold significant value and often connect generations. Some timeless choices are:
Biblical Grandfather Names
- Abba Abraham - grandfather of Jacob (He taught us prompt obedience)
- Boaz - grandfather of Jesse and great-grandfather of David (He reminds us about God’s lavish love for each of us)
- Enoch - grandfather of Lamech and great-grandfather of Noah (Enoch was said to have ‘walked with God’)
- Issac - grandfather of Joseph (Could he be any more important?)
Biblical Grandmother Names
- Hannah - grandmother of Joel (she teaches us about God’s glory)
- Lois - grandmother of Timothy and Paul (she invested her time to cultivate faith in the next generation)
- Rebekah - grandmother of Joseph ( she loved her family with all her heart)
- Ruth - grandmother of Jesse and great-grandmother of David (teaches us the importance of God’s grace and redemption)
Hippie Matching Grandparent Names
As we move away from disciplinarians, into a new fun role in our families’ lives, choosing a name may mean we get to express our silly side.
- Aanaga and Ampa
- Abuela and Abuelo
- Lala and Baba - such sweet names, I can see them teaching their grandchildren how to dance and play musical instruments!
- Bappa and Baba Bomma and Boopa Banpa and Bubbie Gigi and Gaga Geema and Geepa or shortened version - Gma and Gpa Goma and Gompa
- Grammy and Gramps Gummy and Gumpy - how fun is that!
- Lolly and Lolo
- Lolly and Pop
- Lovey and Laos
- Memaw and Pepaw
- Nali and Nanu
- Nana and Papa
- Nana and Zaza
- Sassy and Saba - the name says it all
Sassy Grandparent Names
Who doesn’t want to be seen as someone who is in charge and happy-go-lucky- and don’t forget full of life!? Sassy grandparent names add a touch of humor and playfulness to the relationship. Some popular options include:
Sassy Grandma Names
Anya or Yanya
BB or Bebe or even BeyBey
Glamma - ( this one seems to be newer, another one I wish I’d thought of!)
Grandmama ( I know this dates me but this was Endora in the sitcom Bewitched LOL)
Juju or Jaja
Lala or Lela
Mimi - (Of course this is sassy! Or the cutesy versions - Mimsey or Mumsy)
Momo, Moomaw, Moomoo
RahRah or RooRoo
Sassy Grandpa Names - Grandfathers can be just as sassy and silly!
Big bear, Big Papa, Big Dog, or shortened to Big D (or any other “Big” you can think of)
Boss (why not tell it like it is, I say)
Daada or Dad or Daa-daa-jee
Slim ( I just had to include this sassy grandfather name in case you too would like a self-fulfilling prophecy)
Zede, Zeyde, Zeidy
Cultural Maternal and Paternal Grandparent Names
Some cultures use different names to denote maternal and paternal parents. Below are a few who do so.
- Nani or Dadi - Indian culture uses Nani as mother’s mother and Dadi as father’s mother
- Nana or Dada - Indian culture denotes Nana as the mother’s father and Dada as the father’s father
- Mormor or Farmor - Swedish (Mormor for mother’s mother and Farmor for father’s mother)
- Morfar or Farfar - Swedish (Morfar for mother’s father and Farfar for father’s father)
- Lao Lao, Nai Nai - (Asian culture uses Lao Lao for mother’s mother, Nai Nai denotes father’s mother)
- Lao Ye, Zu Fu - Asian ( Lao Ye is for mother’s father, ZuFu is father’s father. How smart is that?)
Now if you still haven’t decided, the old American favorites are always a delightful hit.
Old American Favorite Grandparent Names
These names convey a sense of timeless love and affection.
Old favorite grandmother names:
- Grammy - (My children’s name for my mother) or Granny
- Grandma or more formal Grandmother - always a classic
- Maw maw or Memaw
- Nana - (other versions are Nanny, or Nan - I would avoid Ninny LOL)
Old Favorite Grandfather Names
Some of the most important people we have in our lives are grandparents. Not only do we host family get-togethers, and provide a meeting place for all family members, we are able to give the very best hugs and kisses to grandchildren. Let’s face it, we get to provide positive experiences to those we love. The ultimate list of grandparent names represents the ways in which grandparents are cherished and respected across different cultures and traditions. These names hold a special place in family dynamics, forging strong connections between generations while weaving beautiful stories of love, wisdom, and heritage. Additionally, choosing the right grandparent name can contribute to the development of a grandparent’s identity in this new role. Becoming a grandparent is a life-changing milestone, and for some, it may take time to adjust to this new title and role. Selecting a name can be empowering and help you embrace your new role with enthusiasm and pride, as well as with a sense of purpose. In some families, grandparent names are passed down through generations, carrying with them a sense of continuity and history.
By choosing a name that resonates with your personality, you can embrace your role in a way that feels genuine and authentic. Ideally, we get to choose the name we will be called, but sometimes the name we choose is a name that is difficult for our grandchild to pronounce and thus, it's forever shortened. After putting all the available names into the pot, pull one out that seems the right fit for your personality. Choose one that will be easy for children to say, as well as one that will make your heart sing every time it rolls off your grandchild’s lips.
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