Alternative Names for Grandparents

May 26, 2010Updated 1 month ago

Grandma or Nanna
In the west, there are a variety of everyday names by which grandparents can be known when their grandbabies come along. For woman, the most common include grandmother, grandma, grandmom, gramma, grannie, nan, nanna and nanny, and for men, the most common include grandfather, grandad, grandpop, papa, poppa and gramps.

A little more "off the wall" but still recogniseable as names for grandmothers are: big mama, gumma, gummy and nonni to name but a few, while for grandfathers they include: big daddy, pops. grumpy and grandpap.

However, for those wanting something just a little more original, but which still means grandmother or grandfather, as opposed to a pet name created for the purpose, there is a world of options just waiting for consideration.

The following names for grandparents are used around the world and have been chosen for their practicality as much as for their originality, for while it may be important to some western grandparents to have names with a little pizzazz, it is also important that their cherished grandbabies will also be able to say their names!

Therefore, not only do the following names roll from the tongue, but for the most part, they are easy to pronounce for the children who will have to use them, perhaps on a daily basis!

Alternative Names for Grandmothers

The following names for expectant grandmothers have been drawn from around the world, so after each name, the country of origin is included in brackets.

  • Abuela (Spanish)
  • Amma (Icelandic)
  • Amona (Basque)
  • Avia (Catalan)
  • Avino (Esperanto)
  • Baba (Ukrainean, Bulgarian & Serbian)
  • Babanne (Turkish)
  • Babicka (Slovakian)
  • Babka (Polish)
  • Babushka (Russian)
  • Baka (Croatian)
  • Bebia (Georgian)
  • Bestemor (Norwegian)
  • Bibi (Swahili)
  • Bomma (Flemish)
  • Bubbe (Yiddish)
  • Bunica Romanian)
  • Elisi (Cherokee, Indian)
  • Grand-mama (French)
  • Halmoni (Korean)
  • Lolo (Filipina)
  • Mamgu (Welsh)
  • Mamo (Irish)
  • Maw Maw (Cajun)
  • Momu (Aboriginal Australian – for grandmothers on the mother's side)
  • Mummo (Finnish)
  • Nai Nai (Chinese – for grandmothers on the father's side)
  • Nenek (Indonesian)
  • Nonna (Italian)
  • Obaba (Japanese)
  • Oma (German)
  • Ommie (Sri Lankan)
  • Ouma (Africaans)
  • Paati - (Tamil)
  • Puna (Hawaiian)
  • Savta (Hebrew)
  • Sitti (Lebanese)
  • Teta (Arabic)
  • Ugogo (Zulu, African)
  • Ya Ya (Greek)

Alternative Names for Grandfathers

The following names for expectant grandfathers have also been drawn from around the world, so again, after each name, the country of origin is included in brackets.

  • Abuelo (Spanish)
  • Afi (Icelandic)
  • Aitona (Basque)
  • Avo (Esperanto)
  • Babu (Swahili & Georgian)
  • Bestefeh (Danish)
  • Bestefar (Norwegian)
  • Bobo (Uzbek)
  • Bompa (Flemish)
  • Bunic (Romanian)
  • Buyuk (Turkish)
  • Chei (American Indian Navajo – for grandfathers on the mother's side)
  • Dadu (Bengali)
  • Daideo (Irish)
  • Deda (Serbian)
  • Dede (Turkish)
  • Dedek (Slovakian)
  • Dedo (Bulgarian)
  • Dedushka (Russian)
  • Didi (Croatian)
  • Dyado (Ukrainean)
  • Gong Gong (Cantonese – for grandfather's on the mother's side)
  • Grand-papa (French)
  • Jid (Lebanese)
  • Jiddo (Korean)
  • Lolo (Filipino)
  • Maili (Aboriginal Australian)
  • Nagyapa (Hungarian)
  • Nali (American Indian Navajo - for grandfather's on the father's side)
  • Nonno (Italian)
  • Ojiisan (Japanese)
  • Opa (German & Dutch)
  • Oupa (Africaans)
  • Papik (Armenian)
  • Pappous (Greek)
  • Paw Paw (Cajun)
  • Petulu (Indonesian)
  • Saba (Hebrew)
  • Seedo (Arabic)
  • Seneli (Lithuanian)
  • Tadgu (Welsh)
  • Tata (Hungarian)
  • Ukki (Finnish)
  • Vectevas (Latvian)
  • Ye Ye (Cantonese – for grandfathers on the father's side)
  • Zeidy (Yiddish)
Of course, it's quite possible that whatever name a grandparent chooses, a grandchild will come along and create an original name which will stick forevermore, and so go on to be used by all the children that follow!


(accessed May 25, 2010).

The New Parents Guide. Nicknames for Grandparents (accessed May 25, 2010). What Did You Name Your Grandparents? (accessed May 25, 2010).


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