Your Perfect Grandparent Nickname How To Choose From This List of 25

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Your Perfect Grandparent Nickname How To Choose From This List of 25

Did you know that in today’s modern world, you get to choose your Grandparent name!?  It was a new idea for me, and left me wondering what the options were.

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This Grandma wants you to be ready for when you get asked, “What would you like your grandma name to be?”

When I was a child I had 2 sets of grandparents, one set that were my mom’s parents, and one set that were my dad’s.  Like many kids from Generation X, we simply called our grandparents by their last name preceded by Grandma or Grandpa.  So, I had Grandma and Grandpa Link and Grandma and Grandpa House.  I had a couple of Great Grandmas, also, and they were also simply called by Great-Grandma Link and Great-Grandma Miller.  Simple, right?  Well, life isn’t quite as simple as it used to be, and that can bring many amazing fun new experiences!

large group of people labeled with relationships
A rare photo with both of my great-grandmothers, the moms of my maternal grandparents.

The Surprise Request!

I was so surprised when my kids asked me what I wanted to be called when I was about to become a grandma.  I wasn’t prepared to choose something.  I mean…  I guess I would just be “grandma,” right?  I worked hard to raise up my kids and feel like grandma is an obvious choice.  I earned it and plan to use it proudly!!!  The good news is it didn’t clash with what the other new grandparents would choose.  They went with a non-traditional choice, and that works great.  My grandson can call us each by our choice with no confusion.

I’ve done some research and it turns out my friends who are grandparents also have some unique grandparent names.  Which one is your special name?  Or which one will you choose?

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25 Grandparent Names

Many grandparent names are specific to the area of the country in which you live.  For example, a grandparent name in the South may look very different from what you would choose if you live along the West Coast.  Here are some examples from several regions of the amazing United States!

Regional – Traditional?

Memaw & Papaw

This sweet name duo is common in the Southern states.  I have a friend whose kiddos call his grandparents from South Carolina these fun names.

TuTu Wahine & Tutu Kane

In the Hawaiian language, Tutu is often used for grandparents of both genders.  If you want to be more specific, TuTu Wahine is the name for Grandmother and TuTu Kane for Grandfather.  How darling would it be to be Wahine or Kane if you chose to shorten in a different and unique Hawaiian way!

Memere & Pepere, or Mémé & Pépé

The formal names for grandparents in French are “grandmére” and “grandpére.”  Wanna shorten it for ease?  Great idea!  The shorter versions are easy enough for even the youngest grandchild to pronounce.  These nicknames, with their French Cajun roots are sometimes used in the Southern States around Louisiana.

Grammy & Grampy or Gramms & Gramps

If you’d like a set of names that work for any region of the good ole’ US, then these traditional choices might be just right for you.  These names are pretty popular no matter what region you’re from, and are easy to pronounce and leave no doubt who your special grandkids are talking about!

International

If you are rooted in your cultural background, then you may want to consider a grandparent name from your mother country.  Here are some of the top names that I’ve heard used in my community and among my own friends and family.  The list of international grandparent names is long and far-reaching, so I can only hit on a few of them here.  You can always take a gander at Google Translate to get more ideas.  Simply enter Grandma or Grandpa in the “English” section, choose your end language and see what happens!

Abuela and Abuelo

You may remember this one from our friend Dora, the Explorer.  Dora’s Abuela was a big part of Dora’s life and guest-starred on many episodes!  My son is in middle school and has been in our TWBI (Two-Way Bilateral Immersion) class since Kindergarten.  Many of his kids are from Latino families and use these names for their grandparents!

Oma & Opa

Dutch.  My home community of Holland, Michigan is steeped in Dutch culture, so we hear these terms of affection on a daily basis!

Interested in Dutch Culture?  Check this out:  Seven Reasons You MUST Visit Holland, Mi During Tulip Time

grandparents posing for a photo
My Grandparents on my dad's side. My grandma's aiden name was VanKuiken, so she represents some of my Dutch roots. She could have been called Oma!

Busia & Dziadzia

(pronounced Busha and Zya-Zya) – A Polish form of Grandma & Grandpa.  It seems there are several variations on this set.  I have friends who are called by these names, so it had to make my list.

Yaya & Pappoúli

If you were a fan of Full House in the 90’s, like my kids were, then you are most likely familiar with Uncle Jessie, played by John Stamos (hubba hubba).  His on-screen parents made a couple of visits to the Tanner family where they were lovingly called Yaya and Pappouli in a nod to John Stamos’ Greek heritage.  Who says sitcoms can’t be educational!?

Ouma & Oupa

These Afrikaans terms for grandparents are so regal sounding!  I love that they sound similar to the Dutch words, though culturally these two sets of grandparents come from completely different backgrounds.  It is, indeed, a small world!

Distinguishing Maternal and Paternal Grandparents the Easy Way

Some languages make it very easy to tell maternal and paternal grandparents apart by simply changing up the grandparent name to fit each side of the family.  Here are some great examples:

Nani & Nana (or Dadi & Dada)

Indian language distinguishes between maternal grandparents with the names Nani & Nana and paternal grandparents with Dadi and Dada.  So simple.

Mormor & Morfar (or Farmor & Farfar)

The Swedish terms for grandparents are my favorites.  They make perfect sense with “Mormor” translating to “mother’s mother,” while “morfar” translates to “mother’s father,” etc.  Brilliant! 

Nai Nai & Ye Ye (or Lao Ye & Lao Lao)

I did not want to miss out on our Asian friends.  Here’s another culture that makes it simple to narrow in on which grandparent you’re talking about.  The Mandarin term for maternal grandparents are Lao Ye & Lao Lao and the paternal grandparents are Nai Nai and Ye Ye.

Bonus Chart

Language

Grandma

Grandpa

 

 

 

Danish

Mormor

Bedstefar

French

Grand-mère

Grand-père

German

Oma

Opa

Greek

Giagiá

Pappoús

Hawaiian

Kuku wahine (or Tutu)

Kuku kane (or Tutu)

Hungarian

Nagymama

Nagypapa

Irish

Mhamó

Seanathair

Italian

Nonna

Nonno

Japanese

O baachan

O jiichan

Korean

Halmeoni

Hal-abeoji

Polish

Babcia

Dziadek

Portuguese

Avó

Vovô

Russian

Babushka

Dedushka

Spanish

Abuela

Abuelo

Swahili

Bibi

Babu

HIP Grandparent Nicknames

Some languages make it very easy to tell maternal and paternal grandparents apart by simply changing up the grandparent name to fit each side of the family.  Here are some great examples:

Glamma & Glampa

These are the perfect hipster grandparent names.  You know the pair – the ones who love to live the glamorous life and are proud of it!  After all – who isn’t proud of being glamorous!?

Mimzy & Pimzy

These quirky names just make my heart smile.  Who wouldn’t want a Mimzy and Pimzy in their life>  And I bet you won’t have to compete with the other grandparents for this set of names!

Foxy & Popsy

If you’re the type who is foxy and ya know it, here’s the grandma name for you!  And Popsy just sounds perfect with it, doesn’t it?  If you are the two who just love any excuse for a party and are some hip and adorable grandparents, then look no further!

MiMi & Pops

These two names are pretty special to me and describes a couple of the most adorable and fun grandparents that I know.  My grandson calls his other grandparents by these super cute names.  Just the other night he was here in my living room calling “Pops” on his pretend phone.  Of course, these two names give me all the feels in a great way!  Anyone my grandkid loves is a friend of mine!

grandparents with toddler in winter setting
My sweet grandson with his Mimi & Pops!

Pipp & Papp or Pippy & Pappy

I love this whimsical take on grandparent names.  It has a bit of a southern feel with a free-spirited touch!  And these names are definitely unique!

Lolli & Pop

If you’ve got a great sense of humor and want something unique, then this is the pair of names for you!  After all, who doesn’t love a set of LolliPops for grandparents!?

GiGi & GiPi

This unique name for grandma and grandpa works perfectly if you’re the Great-Grandparents.  Gigi is a perfectly shortened version of G.G., which stands for Great-Grandma and G.P. for Great-Grandpa.  With these names, no one will confuse your names for your grown kids’ grandparent names.

large group of people labeled with relationships
A rare photo with both of my great-grandmothers, the moms of my maternal grandparents.

Grandparents to the Rich and famous!

If you are looking for some inspiration from those who have gone before you and chosen their unique grandparent names, then check out what some of these well-known grandparents are called by their favorite littles!

Bubbe

The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was affectionately called by this name.

YiaYia and Papou

We all love Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, right?  Their grandkids do, too, as you can see by these fun and unique grandparent names!

Mimi Maxwell and Jefe

Laura and George W. Bush have certainly gone in a direction I would not have expected with these truly unique choice names!  “Jefe” of course means “boss” in Spanish and I guess that fits, since he is arguably one of among the most powerful men in the world as a former U.S. President.

Lovey

Awwwww…  Kris Kardashian wins for the loveliest grandma name with this one.

Literary Grandparents

Marmee

Did you read Little Women?  You must.  It’s good.  And Marmee is the sweet and caring grandmother from the book.

Nanny

If you’re a fan of the story of Mary Poppins, then you might like this creative alternative taken from Mary Poppins’ role as a Nanny.

Now Your Turn

Any way you look at it, choosing your grandparent name is an honor, knowing that those sweet little people will use that word with love for their entire life.  It’s your turn to pick what works for you and your family, or go wild and let your grandkid pick what they’ll call you!  Being a grandparent is a whole new journey.  Enjoy the ride!

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2 Comments

  1. My Mom said she never wanted to be called a Nana, my Dad never Papa. My niece and nephew “obeyed” and proceeded to call them Grandma & Grandpa. However, my kiddos…without any extra encouragement, have chosen Nana & Pops. My parents couldn’t love the names more!!

    • That’s a great story! I think in the end, I would love anything my grandkids call me. My one little grandson called my husband Dan Bumpa for a minute, but quickly switched as soon as he could pronounce Grandpa. I kind of miss hearing Bumpa! So sweet.

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