What Shall We Name Grandma?

Guest blogger Skye Pifer, of Sarasota, Florida, co-authoredThe New Grandparent Name Book; a lighthearted guide to picking the perfect grandparent name,” with her mother, Lin Wellford, who lives in the Arkansas Ozarks.

I guess you could say my mom is something of a name fanatic. She picked out my name when she was still a little girl, after seeing it in one of her aunt’s movie magazines. Soon after that, she modified her own name, one she points out, that is shared by at least a million other girls born in the late 1940’s through the mid-1960’s; Linda. She tried to get people to call her Lynn but public school teachers seemed determined to use the name on her records. Only after the fresh start of college did she try again, spelling it ‘Lin,’ and that time it took.

So when she learned I was expecting, it didn’t take my mother long to began wondering what her grandchild-to-be should call her. In our family, grandparenting names are pretty personal. My maternal great-grandparents called themselves “Gramma and Gran.”  Another set were “Mamaw and Pampaw.” My own grandmother (the person who stuck my mom with ‘Linda’) was certainly old enough to be a grandmother when I came along. But she rejected all the more standard grandmother names and elected to be called “Mutti” (a German version of ‘Mom.’  She’s now in her late 80’s and is known as Mutti not just to her eight grandchildren, but also to our spouses, friends, and now several great-grands as well.

Because she was aware that the name she picked was likely to stay with her for the rest of her life, my mom was determined to choose one that made her happy. It needed to suit her personality, not be super-common, and sound good coming not just from a toddler but also from a teenager. We both began paying attention to what other grandparents were calling themselves, jotting down various options to try them out. I discovered how inventive people in my parent’s generation are when it comes to their grandparenting names.

I’ll admit that I hoped Mom wouldn’t come up with anything too off-the-wall. I kind of cringed at the thought of her being a Bubbles, or Glamma. There are so many options for variations along more traditional lines, like Nanna, Gram or MeMo. Or she could have picked a name from another culture, like Oma, which is German, or Abbi, short for Abuelita, Spanish for grandmother. Noni, Peaches, Sonoma, G-Ma, MoMo, and Grindi, are just a few of the more unusual names we ended up collecting. My mom’s cousin is a professional nanny caring for a set of twins whose grandparents call themselves Rocky and Kitty. My cousin’s in-laws go by Bubba and Bama. One of Mom’s friends confessed that she hoped that if she ever had grandchildren, she’d ask them to call her Granzilla! Luckily, in the end, Mom decided upon using Mimi as her grandmother name. My dad was not that picky, so when I suggested he be ‘Popi’, he was happy to go along with that.

What we discovered in the process is that there is an almost infinite variety of names available to those who want to be called something a little different, a bit more youthful or edgy, a name inspired by their heritage, or one that reflects their interests or hobbies. In fact, long after mom had decided what she wanted to be called, we were both were still collecting names. She’d spot an obituary mentioning the deceased person’s grandparent name, and shoot me an email. CoCo and Pogo were two she found that way. And I asked my circle of friends to pass on unusual grandparent names, too.

Before long, our collective list had hundreds of names! Somewhere along the line it dawned on us that there were probably millions of other baby boomers like my parents, people who were becoming grandparents and looking for names that suited them. So we turned all those names into a small gift book. Not only can grandparents use it to help find their ‘just-right’ name, but it’s proving to be a popular way for expectant parents to break the news to their families, as well. It’s a fun first step in the process of becoming grandparents.

My son Cameron is now almost 10, and he has a little sister, Catelin, who’s four. They are crazy about their Mimi and Popi, and I’m sure they could not imagine calling them anything else.

This mother-daughter team are the co-authors of the book, “The New Grandparents Name Guide.”

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104 Responses to “What Shall We Name Grandma?”

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Courtney W. Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 12:33 am

My mother-in-law goes by “Mimi” as well. My mother chose the more traditional “Granny” (which is also what I called her mother). My father-in-law just wants to be “Grandpa” because he says he doesn’t want to sugar coat what he is.

Rose Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 12:38 am

My grandparents are/were Nan and Papa and Grandma and Papa. Grandma and Papa became Ma and Pa when my cousin’s first daughter was born, but I still called them Grandma and Papa.

Laura Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 12:56 am

my in-laws are Nannie & Poppie – with the greats being Gran & Pumpa. my parents are Nanna & Pa

Alexa Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:23 am

When my sister-in-law was pregnant with my 5-year-old nephew, this was a huge deal. My mother didn’t want to be “Nana,” because that was her mother. She is German and Slavish, so she chose Oma. My father was easier. He said, “I’m Italian, I’m Poppy.”

Dana Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:28 am

My mom and dad firmly elected to be Grandma and Grandpa. When I asked my mom what she wanted to be called she acted like it was the silliest question in the world and said, “Grandma of course!” She loves her newest role.

My mother in law is Dutch Indonesian and so they are Oma and Opa. It’s nice having the two sets of names as it distinguishes one from the other. And it’s special to my husband who had his own Oma and Opa growing up.

Finally, our child dubbed my Grandma (so his Great Grandma) Grammy which is cute. 🙂

fay Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:37 am

I don’t even have children, but I’m going to go by Grandma until my grandchildren christen me. I was the first grandchild on one side and I ended up calling my grandmother Momo. Other people called her Grandma till I started calling her Momo. She didn’t mind as long as it wasn’t Mimi (I don’t know why she didn’t like Mimi, but I suspect she probably didn’t like someone who went by that.)

You can plan all you want, but who knows what will happen. I know one family who’s grandmother decided she only wanted to be called “Grandmother.” Her granddaughter calls her Mamoo. Like Shamu with an M.

My Grandfather on the other side is Grampa – original. One set of great-grandparents was Maw-Maw First name and Paw-Paw First Name.

My other great-grandmother had decided she was too young to be called grandmother and everyone still calls her Nanny. Her husband was Grand-daddy.

Pearl Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 3:31 am

What an awesome idea! I only have 1 set of grandparents, and they are/were Nana and Poppy… pretty traditional, actually. I was the first grandchild and as far as I can recall, Nana was always “Nana”… which she chose. Poppy, was debated, as my baby book is proof of. Poor man went through “Paw Paw”, “Pappy”, “Paps”… etc. before he was dubbed Poppy. Sometimes I called him Papa, not very often, though. I mostly called him Pops or Pop, as I grew older. : ) Nana’s sister is called Ne Ne by her grandchildren and by me and my siblings and cousins as well. Not sure how she got stuck with Ne Ne…

Elizabeth Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 7:08 am

One set omy grandparents go by Grandma and Grandpa, and the other set goes by Nana and Papa.

My parents are going to be grandparents, soon, and they want to go by Pappy and Memaw.

Julie Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:04 am

My parents are Nona and Poppie. My mom came up with those names. My father in law is Bob. We started out calling him Grandpa, but my son started calling him Bob when he was about 18 months old. Bob’s name is Paul, so we aren’t sure where the name Bob came from.

JustADad Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:12 am

The grandmothers on my side of the family always go by Mama : true of my great-grandmother, grandmother, and now my own mother, as a grandmother. It makes them sound as though they’ve wandered out of a Tennessee Williams play but we love it. My stepfather is Granddad. (My own father, who died before my kids were born, is referred to as Papaw, which is what I called my own grandfather. The kids wanted a nickname for him as well, obviously, as he is still discussed and missed. Don’t forget the grandparents who are gone.)

One of the challenges is when one set of grandparents already have names and then the other set have to choose names. My in-laws became first-time grandparents when my first child was born but my own parents already had several grandchildren–and their own nicknames. My MIL wanted to be called Grandmama until she figured out it was a really large mouthful for a child and then, given my FIL’s German heritage, she picked Oma, therefore becoming the first grandparent with a nickname my son could pronounce. My FIL insisted on being called “Granddaddy”. I said “That’s too close to Granddad” and everyone on my wife’s side of the family looked at me as though I were certifiably insane. They all said it would be no problem. I bit my tongue, because what are you going to do? Well, even with our kids being much older they routinely call both their grandfathers by the wrong name. I was right (a fact still not acknowledged) :-). I wish I could have pressed harder, but you can’t tell a determined grandparent he can’t go by what he wants to go by. If he’s unhappy about being called the wrong name, well, that goes with his choice. I warned him and no one listened.

I have already picked out my grandfather nickname, even though I am years (please God) away from being a grandfather. I want to be Opa. It’s short and sweet and a nod to my German heritage. It’s also unlikely to be used by the other grandfather(s).

Christy Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:14 am

My mom goes by Oma, not because it is german for grandma (which is kind of suiting since we are part german), but because she was trying to spell out the sound made from kissing noises. She later found out that the spelling she came up with was actually pronounced a little differently, but meant grandma.

JustADad Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:15 am

Part of my previous posting vanished: correction: the grandmothers on my side of the family go by Mama “First Name”: so names like Mama Peggy, Mama Lucy, Mama Liz, etc. Sorry for confusion, not sure what happened. The blog software ate something.

Novalina88 Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:16 am

By the time I was born I only had one grandparent still living, he’s 96 now and he’s always been Grandpa to my brothers and I! I don’t have kids yet, but when I do I’ll let my parents decide what they want to be called! My aunt and uncle’s grandkids call them Mema and Papa (pronounced like meemaw) and it’s caught on with other people too! I like Mema as I think of it as a distictly southern thing to call a grandma!

Sassy Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:18 am

I call my maternal grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa. I know, not very exciting, lol. My great-grandparents were Nan and Gramp. I think this may be what my mother called them.
My paternal grandmother started out as Grandma “last name”. I think maybe because she lived in a different country for the first few years of my life. I noticed as I got older that my cousins called her Granny or Gran and I shortened it to Gran which I thought at the time was much cooler.
I never really thought that there would be such a debate with names. My parents I figured would be called Grandma and Grandpa when I have children. I’ll have to ask them when I finally conceive if they’d like something different. My hubby’s Dad will be called Papa and his wife Nana. His mother Grandma as well. (This is what our neice and nephews call them)

Heather Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:20 am

My Grandma is German, so my kids call her Oma since Great-grandma was too hard for them when they were younger.

Taffy Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:27 am

Guest advertiser.

karin marie Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:37 am

This is funny that this is posted today! I was just talking to my MIL about her name. The rule in the family the first grandchild gets to call them whatever they pick. & our daughter is the first grandchild & they wanted to be “Grammy & Grampy” but our daughter decided nope she’s gonna be “Mammie & Pappy” not sure on the spelling just yet. Also, my husband’s sister was the first grandchild to name my MIL’s parent’s “Noni & Poppy” even tho some do call them “grandma &grandpa” when I was adopted I had a “Nana &Papa”. &when I was in a foster home her mom was called “Meme & Pop” i forget his name. But I think naming the parents is just as fun as the kids plus no name is wrong and it ends up suiting them! 🙂

Alyssa Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:38 am

Funnily enough, I’ve been dead-set against anything other than the traditional “grandma” and “grandpa” but my parents’ grandparent names have come out more unique even than what my mother suggested when I was pregnant. My son couldn’t pronounce grandma and grandpa as a toddler, and so the names came out “buck-ba” and “gup-ga” and they’ve kind of stuck. I don’t know if they’ll hang around forever– my husband and I still refer to them as grandma and grandpa. But my son seems fairly convinced these are their proper names.

Jill Q. Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 9:01 am

On the paternal side, my grandmother was Nana and my grandfather was Dumpa b/c that is what the first grandchild christened them.
On the maternal side, Grandma [last name] and Grandpa [last name].
My inlaws are Papa and Deedee b/c they have the whole “we’re too young to be grandpa and grandma” thing.
My parents are Grandpa and Grandma. My Dad said our child could call him Steve for all he cared. (His name is not Steve btw). My Mom cycled through a whole bunch of names that were borrowed from different cultures and heritages (none of them ours), but settled on Grandma definitively before the child was even born..

Erin Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 9:28 am

My moms parents were supposed to be Grammy and Grampy, but I refused to call them that, and instead called them Nana and Bumpa. My dad’s parents were supposed to be Nana and Grampa, and I called them Nana-Pat and Papa. I guess that just goes to show that no matter how much the parents/grandparents try to find the perfect name, it just might not stick. By the time I started talking I already had a mind of my own (not that that shocks anyone who knows me well).

As for now that I have my own children, they already had a Great Nana (since their great-great-grandmother is still alive), so my Nana chose to be called Super Nana, but eventually Cody started just calling her Nana Theresa. My grandfather was Bumpa Bumpa. My Papa became Papa Papa, and his second wife is Meme Joan. My mom is Nana, and my dad was first Guappy (because he jokingly referred to himself as “El Guapo” around the time Cody was born, and it stuck) and is now Grampy.

On my husbands side they have Grandma & Grandpa (my husbands great aunt and uncle), Mem (their great-grandmother), and Grammy (their other great-grandmother). My in-laws are Beana (a name the kids in the family have called my mother in law since she was first an Aunt, and it just stuck) and Grampy.

Caren Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 9:37 am

Meema and Popi! I was the first grandchild, and supposedly I came up with these myself from grandma and grandpa. I’m pregnant with my first child (my parents first grandchild) and I’m very curious what my parents will be called. Greatgrandma will still be Meema of course!

Kate Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 10:02 am

In my family we had Nanna and Gramps, and Grandma and Grandpa. My great-aunt chose to be called Lala by her grandkids, which raised some eyebrows in the family, but I suppose reading this post was not all that strange.

The grandparent names from the TV show “Arrested Development” really crack me up; they’re Gaingy and Pop-Pop

CanaLyn Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 10:07 am

My maternal grandparents were Mema and Papaw (I never knew Papaw though so my “grandfather” was Papa D, her last husband) and my paternal grandparents were Mawmaw and Pawpaw. I got the names confused.

My mom has already decided what she wants to be called. I speak French, and she has asked that she be called “Grandmere” (grandmother in French). Another possibility, which is somewhat easier to say for small children, is Maman, which is kind of like our “mommy”. I don’t think my dad is thinking about what he wants to be called, though… I think he’s not thinking about being a grandfather at all just yet.

CanaLyn Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 10:09 am

Something else interesting I just remembered: my aunt’s grandchildren call her “Who” because she always said “Who am I?” to her first one and now it’s stuck.

Joy Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 11:08 am

My Grandmother likes to be called Grandmother, she won’t take anything else, no grandma or anything. I like it. People find it weird that I only call her Grandmother but I don’t think so. But my god brother’s grandmother who I also call her Granny Walker and his great grandmother Nana.

Kristine Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 11:25 am

My maternal grandmother is just “Grandma.” My paternal grandmother is “Grandma Margie,” her name is Marjorie and everyone calls her “Margie.” My maternal great grandmother HAD to be called “Grandmother” or “Grandmother Burch.” (Her last name was Burch) There was no “calling her grandma” ever!

saree Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 11:25 am

I have Gigi and Grandpa and Mamaw and Papa– Gigi and Mamaw are what the first grandchild came up with, Papa and Grandpa asked to be called by those names.

Stephanie Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 11:42 am

We had this same conversation with my mom when we brought our daughter home. My mom insisted “grandma” was too old for her and she asked me to come up with something else instead. We settled on “Nona”, so Savvy has a Nona, Grandpa, Grandpa Salt and a Nana. (Grandpa Salt got his name because our dogs love licking all the salt off his skin when he helps us with a home project). 🙂

MrsWoolfSimmons Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 11:52 am

To me the granparent nns were alway so odd. I knew my grandparents by their last names, ie Grandma Woolf. The only exception was a set of great-grandparents lovingly dubbed GG and Gpa by my older cousins.
Now I realize I am probably the odd one calling my grandparents by their last names.

Jaeryn Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 11:55 am

My mom’s parents are Gramma and Grampa, my dad’s are Granny Bo and PaPa-T (step, but the one I grew up with…his biological father wanted to be Grandad and his second wife wanted Grand-C but I didn’t even meet them til I was 13). My greats were Meme, Margaret, and Birdi Maude…I only really remember Meme. Finally my parents are Gramma Sarah and Papa until my neice (8mos) and my son (due 8/23) re-name them!

Amelia Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

My great grandmother was “Mutti” to not only her daughter, but to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well. Most of the neighborhood children and some of the adults knew her only as Mutti. Her real name was Emmy (Emma). My name (Amelia) is in her honor. I don’t necessarily want my children to call me “Mom” so I am thinking about using Mutti after her. My great grandmother was my mom’s favorite person, though, so if she wants my kids to call her Mutti, I think it would be a wonderful way to honor the special relationship she had with her grandmother by being called Mutti by her own grandchild. Thank you so much for your story! It brought back so many memories.

Aimee Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

my mom wanted me to wait until my daughter was old enough to pick herself. since that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, we nixed that and she’s grandma. My father in law is Poppy so my father has become Papa. Whatever.

JLyn Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I have been wondering if Nameberry would do a blog on this. I am only 40 but have decided that my Grandma name will be Mimi. My parents are Granny and Pa. I also love Memaw! Having more than one Grandma and Grandpa can get too confusing–my husband dubbed my grandmothers Little Grandma and Big Grandma when we began dating. Big Grandma never really fit but Little Grandma has stuck and my children use it now!

MissyGilmoreGirl Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

My maternal grandparents were Nanny and Pop-Pop. My mom and dad now go by Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop which, from what I can tell living in California, seems to be a NJ thing (or at least east coast).

KKR Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

My parents are both remarried and my Dad wanted what his Dad was called, Granddad. His wife (very formal) wanted what her mother was called, Grandmother + her Nickname. My mother, on the other hand is quite youngish and wanted something different. We live on an island in Eastern Canada where Gaelic is still spoke (they say more per capita than in Ireland or Scotland) and my mother’s mother was Gaelic speaker. Our culture is very celticly oriented and it isn’t unusual to see kilts and babpipes around. Despite this, you don’t often hear the Gaelic terms for grandparents used. I did some research when my sister was pregnant and told my mother that the proper Gaelic term for GM was seanmháthair. It is pronounced like “shann-wah-her”. She has been known ever since by Seannie, which is pronounced like the boys name, Shunnie or Shawnnie. It is absolutely adorable to hear my nephews say it and I can’t wait for our baby (due in November) to meet his/her Seannie, too. it suits my mother to a “t”. My German inlaws are going to be Omama and Opapa.

jacjac Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

My maternal grandparents are Grandma and Grandpa John
and then my Paternal grandparents are Grandma lastname and Grandma lastname/Cliff!

when I have kids i’ll get them to call my parents Jijuu and Jijii which is grandma and grandpa in my language. I am also making the transition into calling Grandma, Jijuu 🙂

kaybee3 Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I call my grandparents Muttie (mommy in German…she added the “e”) and Granddad.

My kids and newphews call my dad “G-Man” on his request…old WW2 refrence i believe…

And, I have a friend whose kids call her mom “Honey” and I think it is super cute.

kaybee3 Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

oh, and I forgot one more, my baby calls his great grandma “Gigi” a variation of GG or Great Grandma.

Andrea Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Grandpa and Grandma, followed by their first names if the other grandparents are around. The other grandparents are Grandpa and Grandma (their first names).

MereMere Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

My husband called his maternal grandfather “Bo” and his maternal grandmother “Day” based on his older brother’s mangling of Grandpa and Grandma. It took me a while to remember who the family was talking about when I was first around.

My mom’s name is Delilah but people call her Dee (it’s a shame, I know), and my mother-in-law’s name is Jennifer (the only 64-year-old Jennifer I know!) but her close family calls her Jaye. Therefore, my kids call them Grandma Dee and Grandma Jaye. Of course, my preschooler thinks of them as Grandma “D” and Grandma “J”.

RoseSi)2 Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

my parents are Mimi and Pop Pop.

When I was growing up my father’s grandmother was called Bedstemor. After she passed away and my grandmother became a great grandmother, she became Bedstemor. I am sure as my children have children, my parents will become Bedstemor and Bedstefar.

British American Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

As a child I called my Grandmas “Big Nanna” and “Little Nanna.” That led to my Mum and Mom-in-Law discussing how neither of them wanted to be “Big Nanna”.

My Mum fancied the title “Glamour Nana” and even uses that as her e mail address. But that’s not one that my kids or I have ever used. Instead she’s “England Nanna” because that’s where she lives – in a different country from us. My Mom-in-Law is “Nanna” or “Nanna Mophead” – Mophead is the nickname my husband gave her growing up.

My grandfathers weren’t alive when I was growing up, so I didn’t have names for them. We tried to get our daughter to say “Grandpa” as a toddler, but it came out as “Guh Guh” so that is what has stuck. It does make a nice match: Nanna & GuhGuh. So my Father-in-Law is “Guh Guh” or “Guh Guh Pops” – as my husband grew up calling him Pops.

I got the impression that my Dad wasn’t keen on “Guh Guh”, as he kept trying to get the kids to call him “Granddad”. My daughter is old enough to call him that now, but when they visited last summer my son was still 1 and he insisted on calling him “Grandma”. (We’d recently visited the kids’ great grandma, so I guess that was why he was stuck on saying “Grandma”.) He’s able to say “Granddad” now though.

Anamarie Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

On my paternal side we called my Grandma, “Nana” and my Grandpa “Gramps”. We called my maternal grandma, just grandma. And my Grandpa was called “Papa”.

Kate Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

On my mother’s side, my grandparents are “Grammy and Pappy”; my father’s parents passed away before I was born, but his second wife’s parents were “Mem-mem and Pap-pap”. I don’t have kids yet, but my dad goes by Grampa or Grampa Bill to my nieces and nephews, and my mom plans on being called “Gremlin”… because she’d be Grammy Lynn. :o)

A very good friend of our family is a grandpa, and he and his wife go by “Hubby and Gigi”, since his name is Hub. His granddaughter’s other grandparents are “Papaw and Grumpy”. I thought Grumpy was just the sweetest name for a grandma!

Katie Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

All 4 of my grandparents were Grandma/Grandpa ‘first name’. I have no idea how that was decided upon. When I had my first (first grandchild for my parents and my DH’s) my mom was dead set against being a Grandma. She settled on Nana eventually. My dad is Grandpa although my oldest started calling him Bahdah when she was about 2. As she learned speak more clearly it changed to Grandpa. I think he was really disappointed that Bahdah didn’t stick.

My inlaws insisted on being Grandma/Grandpa ‘last name’. This seemed really weird and formal to me (my husband’s paternal grandparents had used it too), like the kind of grandparents that live across the country and only send you cash in a card on holidays. My husband even broached the subject with them before our oldest was born but they were sure. Now that our oldest is 4, I think they regret it. I caught my MIL telling my daughter she could call her Grandma ‘first name’ if she wanted.

And Kate – love the Arrested Development reference! My brother calls my daughter, Mae, Maeby as a nn.

Adrianna Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

My paternal grandparents, as well as my parents, go by Beppe (Beppa) and Pake (sounds like Pah-kah), which is Frisian. I love it, and it’s actually easier for kids to say. My daughter said Beppe and Pake long before Grandma and Grandpa!

NameGoddess Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

My maternal grandparents are Gigi and Papa (prn GHEE-ghee and PAW-paw). My paternal grandparents, who lived on the other side of the country, were the more formal Grandma Watt and Grandpa Watt (their surname). My mom says that whenever she becomes a grandmother, she wants to be Mimi.

NameGoddess Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 4:44 pm

*Oh, and my great-grandmother was Old Granny. I am sorry to say that we great-grandchildren even called her that to her face. She was probably a very offended old lady. (;

Emz Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 5:08 pm

This must be an American thing, as I’ve never come across it in the UK, ever.

My two grans were both known as Granny Lastname (of course both their last names were different!). As we got older it was shortened to Gran.

In my boyfriend’s family the grannies and grandpas are known as Granny/Grandpa Firstname.

I prefer my own family’s, simply because it’s a bit more old-fashioned and stuffy. I like that 🙂

cleo4 Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 5:39 pm

There were a lot of remarriages among my grandparents, so I ended up with 7 grandparents! Because of this though, and the fact that none of them lived close to me, I just called most of them Grandma Anne, Grandma Judy, Grandma Lillian, Grandpa Bob, etc. when talking about them with siblings/parents/friends, and just Grandma/pa or Gran to their face. But, my mother’s dad and her stepmom are French, so I always called them Papy and Mamy.

My daughter calls my parents YeYe and LaoLao, which are the Chinese words for Grandpa and Grandma. She calls my husband’s parents Amma and Papa.

fay Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Someone mentioned a grandmother named Honey. My friend’s grandmother decided she was too young to be called grandmother and chose Honey. Apparently Honey is the complete opposite of what she is. I think that’s part of the reason I’m not too keen on grandmothers choosing their own name – it reminds me of her.

I forgot about my step-grandmother. She was Hungarian, she went by her nickname+nay-nee at the end, which is a term of endearment.

Sidenote: I called my mother by her first name when I first started talking. I guess she was the only mother who didn’t refer to herself as “mommy”. She said she got everyone else to call her mom and I switched.

Chloe Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I have three… Grandma, Nonna, and Dolly. Grandma is the most common form, but Nonna is my Italian Grandmother who of course chose Nonna because that is the language she speaks (Italian). Dolly is my step – Grandmother who never wanted to be called Grandma or Granny because she thought it made her sounds old. I also know two little kids who call their grandma Gaga. It is funny because she is from Scotland, and there Gaga means crazy!


kerri Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 6:41 pm

My son made up the perfect name for my mom and started calling her that: Grandma Paints Bears. She is very crafty and on a visit had done all kinds of stamping projects on shirts and hats and such. Voila, Grandma Paints Bears. She loves it and has spread it to my brother’s kids too.

JCF Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 7:18 pm

This was a HUGE issue with my husband’s parents when I was pregnant with my son (the first grandchild on that side). They couldn’t/wouldn’t pick anything, or they’d pick something and then forget what it was. Or they’d pick the same thing my parents were called (this happened multiple times). Finally when my son was over a year old and they STILL hadn’t chosen something, my MIL expressed hurt feelings that my son called my parents by name but not them. I pointed out that he just didn’t know what to call them; it was nothing personal. From that day, I just chose two names, started calling them by that on behalf of my son, and the names finally stuck. I have no idea to this day if they’re okay with the names I chose (I went with two pretty basic, non-weird names), but somebody had to choose!

Morgan Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I couldn’t pronounce Grandpa when I was younger, so I started calling my grandfathers Bunkie ‘first name’. I don’t know how I came up with Bunkie, but it stuck.

Andrea Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I called one of my grandfathers Papa Haha because he used to tickle me until I giggled. Later he was just Grandpa Last Name. My other grandparents lived with us so they were always just Grandma and Grandpa. They were more like second parents than grandparents.

JNE Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

My grandparents were Pappy and Grammy and the other set was Grandma and Grandpa.

For my children, my in-laws go by Nan or Nana and Gramp or Gramps (they are from/live in England) and my own folks go by Grandpa and Grams.

My dad was completely confused when I asked him what he’d like to be called (my daughter was my folks’ first grandchild) – he said “what do you mean?” and then, as if I were asking what 1+1 is, “Grandpa!” (of course!).

My mother was the complete opposite (as is always the case with those two!) – she agonized over the options for the entirety of my pregnancy – I think she found choosing her moniker more difficult than we found naming our daughter. She chose Grams because it didn’t seem so “old” to her. She took polls of her friends (what they were called) and I offered up Oma (we are of german heritage), but she decided it would be Grams and it is so.

babynamesrule Says:

June 17th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

My grandparents are Grandma and Grandpa (aka Grampy) ad Nani and Nonno. My fiance’s grandmother is Tutu, the Hawaiian name for Grandmother. They’re WASPs, but they chose it for her after a trip to Hawaii.

Evelyn Says:

June 18th, 2010 at 6:30 am

Our last name is Bear, so our grandchildren call us Pooh (grandpa) and Teddy (grandma)
We love it

PDXLibrarian Says:

June 18th, 2010 at 8:55 am

I’ve never met anyone with another Mamaw before! My grandfather we call Papaw though. 😀

lindseylikes Says:

June 18th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

My grandparents are Grandma and Grandpa and Grammy and Granddaddy. Some of the names the kids I’ve nannied for have used for their grandparents are MeMe (may-may) and Opa, Memaw and Papaw, GaGa and Papo, Gammy and Pappy, and BueBue (bway-bway) and PomPom. I hadn’t ever really thought about how many different choices there are!

dancer4life Says:

June 19th, 2010 at 11:17 am

My grandparents on my mom’s side are Grandma and Grandpa. I don’t know if they decided it, but it’s what they are.

My dad’s parents, therefore, wanted something different. My dad’s mom grew up in the Amana Colonies, a German set of villages in southern Iowa. So, they decided to be Oma and Opa.

My Opa’s mother went by Gigi, or GG, for Great Grandma. I always thought that was cute.

My Oma’s parents went by Oma Oma and Opa Opa.

LaylaRose Says:

June 20th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I live in the Netherlands. My mom is Dutch, so I called her parents Opa and Oma, but my dad is Frisian (small province of the Netherlands, has its own language), so I call his parents Pake (Pa-kuh) and Beppe (Bep-puh). Because of the different (first) lanugages used by the families, my parents never had to discuss it with them, since it seemed only natural to let us call them the names that are used for grandparents in those languages 🙂 .

butterflyishida Says:

June 20th, 2010 at 9:52 pm

My nephew has his paternal Granny and Granda and maternal Nama and Grandad. Nama came up because she didn’t want to be granny or nana cuz they sounded old (she’s only in her mid-40s)

my cousins have Geegee and Papa, the eldest coming up with Geegee himself at about 16 months.

I always just had Granny and Granda like my parents had and their parents before them

Danni Says:

June 21st, 2010 at 4:48 pm

My great-grandmother went by “Bam” — even her friends and neighbors started calling her that! I was the first grandchild for my maternal grandparents, so I christened them Mimi and Papa 🙂

My parents are very young, so we will have to see what they want to be called. I can see my Dad as “Pop”, but my Mom is so down-to-earth and easy-going that most of the traditional grandmother names sound very wrong on her. Maybe her first grandchild will pick a name for her.

JAKS Says:

June 21st, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Of all my grandparents, I only met my grandparents on my father’s side once, and we referred to them on both sides as Grandma and Grandpa. We call my husband’s grandmother Grandmom, but our kids call her Gigi, or GG. Our kids call my husband’s parents Grandmom and Granddad. My father and step-mother are called Lolo and Lola by my children. (Grandfather and Grandmother in Philippino.) My mother and step-father are called Grandma and Grandpa or Halme and Halbe (nicknames for Halmeoni and Hal-abeoji, Korean for grandmother and grandfather.) Whew, that sounds a bit confusing! Wonder what our grandkids will call us…

Helly Says:

June 21st, 2010 at 7:26 pm

my mom wants my son to call her mormor–a term norwegians use for grandma to honor her mother who was norwegian.

Jen Says:

June 21st, 2010 at 8:30 pm

My paternal grandmother always was and always will be Grandma.

My maternal grandmother was Granny to her grandkids, then became GG when she started having greats (GG short for ‘Granny Great’) GG has stuck for practically everyone.

My aunt somehow became ‘Bali’ to her grandkids, and her hubby is ‘Pop’.

By and large though, my family opts for Granny.

ambi Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 12:56 pm

My grandmother is Boo – which is what I christened her when I couldn’t say her name as a baby. It stuck, and now I love it.

My aunt is called Dear by her 7 grandchildren. It took little while getting used to, but it has been so cute hearing the little ones say “I love you , Dear” and “Dear, will you play with me?” Very sweet.

Emmy Jo Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 4:13 pm

My mother is of part Greek heritage, and she decided to go by Yia-Yia. It’s a very lively sort of grandma name, and it suits her well.

I always called my stepdad “Papa” while I was growing up, to differentiate him from my biological father (who was “Daddy”). So we’ve decided that my stepdad’s grandparent name will remain Papa. We go to Yia-Yia and Papa’s house.

When I was little, I called my grandmother “Grammonny/Grandma-nie” (not sure how to spell it!). I made it up… who knows where I got that extra syllable.

agirlinred Says:

June 28th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

I’m not too sure on the spellings of some of these, but here it goes.

– My paternal grandparents are called Grandmama and Grandpa or Pepaw. My cousin calls my grandfather Pepaw while my sister and I call him Grandpa.
– My maternal grandparents are Nan and Pop.
– My dad’s mom’s parents (great-grandparents) are called Gee Gee and Paw Paw.

My dad’s dad’s dad was the only other great-grandparent that was still alive when I was born (I’m the oldest on both sides). He passed away before I could talk, but he was called Granddaddy.

Lizzy Says:

July 7th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

My grandparents on my dad’s side were/are Granny and Sugarbear 🙂

My kid’s grandparents are:
Nanna and Grand-Dad (my parents)
Grandma, Grandpa (his parents) and Marian (Step-Grandma)

CG Says:

July 7th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

My grandmother is from Greece and we call her Yaya (which is greek for grandmother).

Sunshinetina Says:

July 7th, 2010 at 11:38 pm

My fathers parents are of German decent so we call them Oma and Opa. My moms parents are british, we call them gammy and gramps.
My oldest daughter calls my mom, grommy (I think she was trying to say grandma and mommy at the same time). It just sort of stuck. She calls my dad poppy. My youngest daughter isn’t old enough to talk yet.

Jennifer Says:

August 2nd, 2010 at 2:00 pm

My grandparents were always just Grandma and Grandpa (adding the last name if we were referring to them and it wasn’t clear who we meant) and my step-grandmother went just by her first name. Then, my parents adopted my brother and sister and they couldn’t keep all the grandparents straight (even when my maternal grandfather died just a few months later). So, to differentiate between the grandmothers, my maternal grandmother became Grandma-Two-Dogs because — you guessed it — she had two dogs. They call her that to her face. Fortunately, she’s got a great sense of humor, and she loved her daschunds almost as much as her grandkids, so it all worked out.

My mom’s side is the side with the penchant for weird names…I’ve had a great-great uncle Egg, great-great aunt Elk and an Auntie Rie (her name was not Rie, but nobody could say Aunt Anna Marie when they were little). And those are just the nicknames–they’re real names are just as unusual. I’m not surprised that my mom named me Jennifer.

I don’t have any kids yet, but I’ve picked up this odd habit of calling my dad Papito and my mom Mumzykins…so I won’t be surprised if that’s what my kids call them.

Trixie Says:

September 22nd, 2010 at 2:10 pm

My own grandmother was “Gam”, and I’ve since heard “Gammy” and “Grammy” from what some of my friend’s called their Grandmothers. My husband is Asian and called his Grandmother “Pao Pao” which sounds kind of like like pow pow. “Ba Ba” is Asian for Daddy, but it’s also common to call your Grandfather this, too. Now that my Mother is a Grandmother, she goes by “Granny”, and my Father…well, he likes “Fa”, and the kids find that very easy to say.

Tonia Says:

September 28th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

My paternal grandparents were Nanny and PawPaw. Not sure if they chose it or my older cousin. I was the first grandchild for my mom’s parents and they were Momo and Boompa. Not sure who picked Momo but apparently my Dad heard Boompa somewhere and used it until I caught on. Although there is some disagreement about whether it should be spelled Boompa or Boonpa. It’s on my grandfather’s tombstone as Boonpa because my sister was with my mom when it was ordered.

We always called my great-grandmother, Grandma, since that is what my mom called her and we weren’t using it for any of the other grandparents.

We don’t have any kids, but my mom is Nana to my brother’s kids. When my sister’s first daughter was born she changed it to Neena (pronounced like Nina) and it stuck so her little brother uses that too. I guess our kids could choose either one.

strangeasang3ls Says:

February 25th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

My dad’s parents were Bubie and Zeta (rhymes with yetta). Zeta’s father was called Grampy Lastname, and he’s the only one of my dad’s grandparents I really remember being mentioned.
Mom’s parents are Grammum and Grandpa (but pronounced Grampuh). Grandpa’s mother was Grammy.
My babysitter when I was little was Nanny to me and Nana to her grandkids.
My boyfriends parents are Nana and Rick. Nana is an early childhood educator, and wanted a name that the kids would be able to say ASAP. Rick’s real name is not Rick, but he liked the name from Casablanca 🙂

Nancy S. Brandt Says:

February 26th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

My daughter chose the names for her grandparents (my husband’s parents). She was just about 18 months old and couldn’t speak clearly when I heard her saying something that sounded like “Ruggan” and I realizes she was referring to my mother-in-law. Soon, we shortened it to Rugga and that’s what both of my kids call their grandmother. Bumpa is what their grandfather is called. They are Rugga Ann and Bumpa Dick. My mother went more traditional with “Grammy.” We did suggest Rugga Lo (her name was Lola) but she told us flat out that she didn’t like that and we fell back on Grammy, which she loved.

Now that my daughter is 21 and my own grandmother-hood is potentially in the near future, I may have to come up with my own name. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Sheila Says:

April 26th, 2011 at 9:16 pm

All of my grandparents (and great-grandparents) were either Grandma or Grandpa. Sometimes we would add their first or last name when talking about them, but never to them. I didn’t really realize that people called their grandparents something else until I met my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) grandmother, Memaw. I have to say, hearing a big, bearded high-schooler say “Memaw” was a bit awkward. I can’t call her Memaw, I always call her by her first name because unless I’m talking to her (or about her) in front of my two-year-old, I feel ridiculous calling her “Memaw”.

My parents are Nana and Paw. My in-laws are Mimi (chosen by my daughter- she originally wanted to be Grandma) and Grandpa. I would have preferred them all be Grandma or Grandpa, but it’s their choice.

Lea Says:

May 4th, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I started calling my grandma “Uma” when I was little. No one ever figured out where I got it from, but it stuck, and to this day in my twenties I am still calling her Uma.

Rachel Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 1:42 am

My grandmother name is Gramae. Prounounced ‘Gram-ay’
I really like it. It is different, yet sounds almost traditional. I haven’t seen it on any of the name websites, or heard of another one! My husband is Grandad…

Stephanie Says:

June 7th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

My Great-Grandmother was called Mutti by her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren. This is the first time that I have come across Mutti as another grandmother’s name. Although she immigrated to Canada after the second world war, and could speak perfect English, she preferred the title ‘Mutti’ because she felt that ‘Grandmother’ sounded too old.

woodwinder Says:

June 28th, 2011 at 3:43 am

this article is sweet…I have grandparents “Mama” b/c thats what my mother calls her and “Grandpa” maternally, and paternally “Grandma Margo” and “Henry”(step…My parents are not going for traditional names…they think their too young so Im thinking Grand and Grant …but we’ll cross that bridge in due time

Livi Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:58 am

Next door to me the grandparents are called Muz and Puz. I laugh every time I hear or say them, but in a good way.

Ami Says:

July 24th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I’ve always known that I want to be called Grannie when I become a grandmother. I called my grandma that and she called her’s that. If the time comes, however, and I decided that I’m not a Grannie, I’ll go by Grammie, a mix of my nickname, Ami and Grannie.

ladybug99 Says:

August 30th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

My great grandparents were Nana and Bapa. My maternal grandparents are Gramsey and Grandpa JJ. My paternal grandparents are Grandma Pat and Grandpa Paul. We call their sibling Aunt or Uncle, ex Aunt Suzanne and Uncle Taylor. My mom is named Frances so she’s decided to go by Granny Franny while my dad has chosen the very fitting name of Grumpy. I think it just depends on the persons personality…

ladybug99 Says:

August 30th, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Oh and I know a girl who calls her grandma Grandma Poopy because she makes gross jokes….. SHUDDER!!!

Cclb119 Says:

October 16th, 2011 at 11:28 am

My kids (on their fathers side) call their grandparents Nana & Papa

emilymaryjane Says:

December 30th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

In Angus, Thongs and the full frontal snogging Georgia calls her parent Mutti and Vati as a joke

RitaPumpkinina Says:

February 27th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

My maternal grandparents were Nanny and Poppa, and my paternal grandmother was Mama Sara. Never knew my paternal grandfather.
My fiance’s parents will be Nanna and Granda, and my parents will most likely be Papa and Rad Mumma hehe. And yes, that is by my mumma’s request. But I think I’d have my kids call me Mumma. My mum’s way more rad than me so Rad Mumma fits 😛

caracakes Says:

March 8th, 2012 at 10:39 am

When me and my boyfriend had only been dating for about 8 months, my mother decided she was ready for grandkids, it seemed! And she let me know when me and him have kids, she wants to be called “Noni”, Italian for grandmother, since she is Italian. I doubt my dad has a preference, he’ll probably just be Grandpa. Though, I will start throwing in a “Grandpops” and I know he will cringe! Tehehe! 🙂 I have no idea what my boyfriends parents would want to be called though… my bf’s grandparents would probably stick to Gigie [gig-ee, not geee geee lol], and G-man. Cause thats what my bf calls them sometimes [normally its grandfather for G-man though, hehe!], and I think they are fairly suitable for even great grandparents.

lindsW Says:

May 8th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Although I’m still a couple of years away from having my own kids, I already have a grandmother name. My niece christened me NeNe when Lindsey proved too hard to say. I think I’ll stick it with it.

My favorite is my aunt DeDe, who selected GrandDe as her name. Too bad her daughter vetoed it in favor of MawMaw… Way too stodgy for a spunky 60-year-old, I think.

CatieLynn Says:

May 29th, 2012 at 11:01 am

My maternal grandparents are Grandma and Granddad (pn like Gramma and Grandad), and my paternal grandparents Grammie and Grandpa(Grampa). Great-Grandparents were Grandma Kay & Pop-Pop, Grandma Lois and Granddaddy. I want my mom to go by either Nana or Mamaw (Nana was my cousin’s maternal Grandma and I loved her name, Mamaw is very popular where I’ve grown up), but she doesn’t like either of those 🙁 I haven’t given any thought to my dad, but I’ve still got a while before I start having kids.

KnikkiCharles Says:

July 12th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

My nieces have so many “grandparents” that its essential that everyone be distinctive. they have a Gramma, Granpa, Nana, Poppa, Gigi, Great, Gramma-Great, Granny and a few others I cant remember….

My son essentially just has my mom, whom we call Gramma but that has morphed by him into Mamma…Which I like<3

His paternal grandmother chooses to go by Grandma Julie which I feel is entirely to cold and formal, I hate when kids have to call their grandparents with a title and name but whatevs…She doesn't see him often anyway for him to know to refer to her as anything…

Abby_Shield Says:

October 15th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

It’s cool to see everyone’s stories! I have seen 2 grandma names on this post that I thought were unique as I have only ever heard them on 2 real-life grandma’s. The first is “Mamoo” which is the name I gave my maternal grandma as a toddler & the second is “Mom-Mom” (pronounced more like Mum-Mum) which is the name of my best friend’s grandmother. Before reading all these replies I never realized that there were other “Mamoo’s” & “Mom-Mom’s” out there!

Neither my parents nor my husband’s have any grandchildren yet but my mom & stepdad want to be “Nana” & “Poppy” (we call him “Step-Poppy” a lot & he’s already quite fond of that :)) Not sure what my MIL wants to be called yet but her late mother was Granny so she may want to use that name.

As for me, being a grandma is a bit far in the future at this point but I think I would like to be called “Mimi” by future grandkids, and maybe even future nieces & nephews. My really name is Brittany but my youngest brother (I was 10 when he was born) couldn’t say my name as a toddler & called me “Mimi” instead. He & the rest of the family call me “Mimi” to this day and he is in high school now. I feel a very strong attachment to this nickname now so I’d like to continue it’s use into the future.

LexieM Says:

October 17th, 2012 at 9:44 am

Most of my grandparents died before I was born with the exception of my mothers-mother. So I never really called her anything in person. However, there is a consensus between all her children and their children that she will always be “Mami” – a German term for mother that her own kids called her. What’s interesting is that Mami in german is like Mommy in English. None of the grandchildren ever considered calling their mothers that but instead used diminutive forms of the word (which ironically are all longer). I think my kids will call my mom by the childhood name I called her (and which she still signs her emails and letters to me with).

brontefrances Says:

December 16th, 2012 at 4:27 am

Gran and Guv- Guv is because my Dad and his siblings called him that, short for Governer (from a tv show) , as teenagers. No one else has ever told me they have a Guv 🙂 I think it’s cool!!

stormygirl84 Says:

December 26th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I feel certain that when I finally have kids, my parents will insist on “Granddaddy” (very southern) and “Grandmommy” – the same things I always called my mom’s parents.

My dad’s parents, on the other hand, were “Gran” (traditional on her side of the family) and “Papere,” which is basically a French-Canadian form of Grandpa.

My husband’s grandparents were all plain ol’ Grandmas and Grandpas, with the exception of his paternal grandfather – for whatever reason, my husband (the oldest of the grandchildren) dubbed him “Beepa,” and it stuck.

dieselsmomma Says:

January 19th, 2013 at 5:41 pm

My grandma was Mommer. My oldest cousin dubbed her Mom Mom and the next one couldn’t say it so Mommer it was. My youngest cousin (her first great grand chold)couldn’t say Mommer and wound up calling her Mambo. On the other side I had Grannie Annie. My mom opted for Gramma, but my one year old currently calls her Mim.

sarahmezz Says:

February 1st, 2013 at 11:55 pm

My husband’s parents are Italian and I’d kind of like them to go for Nonna and Nonno, but they’ve already decided they’re Nanna and Poppy (my husband’s sister has a daughter so they’re already grandparents). A bit disappointing, but maybe Nanna will still morph into Nonna! I have no idea what my parents will be yet.

LuluBoo Says:

March 30th, 2013 at 3:59 am

I call my mums parents Nanna and Grandad and my dads parents have passed away but when we talk about them we use Granny and Grandad.

Kayla_Renee Says:

April 3rd, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I call my grandparents on both sides Grandma and Grandpa. I asked what my parents want to be called when they are grandparents and they said that my mom will go by Meemaw and my dad will be Boompa Chuckles “Boomps”

HudsonAndNairobisMom Says:

April 13th, 2013 at 8:43 pm

My grandparents were Nanny & Pop Pop and my parents decided to be Grammy & Poppy ;-).

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