What Do You Call Grandma? Names of Grandparents around the World


Do you have a favorite name for your grandparents? Maybe it was Maw Maw and Paw Paw, or Nana and Pop, or the classic Grandma and Grandpa. While many families have their own unique names for their grandparents, here some common names people around the world call their grandparents.

Ireland (Gaelic)

Grandmother: Maimeó (pronounced Mam-o)

Grandfather: Daideó (pronounced Daddo)

While maimeó anddaideó are the words used to address a grandmother or grandfather, there are a few different words for grandparents in Irish. For example, there are máthair chríona, which translates to “wise mother,” and athair críonna which translates to “wise father.”

Greece (Greek)

Grandfather with granddaughter by the water

Grandmother: Yaya (yah-yah)

Grandfather: Pappoús (pa-poos)

Many Greek children are named after their grandparents. These names often correspond to a saint’s name,and along with celebrating birthdays, families also celebrate a child’s name day.The name day is the saint’s feast day.

Japan (Japanese)

Grandmother: Obaasan, Sobo (obaa-san, soh-boh)

Grandfather: Ojiisan, Sofu (oh-gee-sahn, soh-foo) 

Though most Japanese homes house only immediate family, extended family often live close by and visit frequently. In Japanese culture, elders are highly respected.

A Japanese grandfather with his grandson, who is holding a pigeon.

Russia (Russian)

Grandmother: Babushka (BAH-boo-shka)

Grandfather: Dedushka (DYZE-doo-shka)

Both of these terms are used to address one’s grandparents as well as someone of grandmotherly or grandfatherly age. Babushka is also the name of colored, light wool headscarves worn by older women in Russia.

India (Hindi)

An Indian grandmother with her granddaughter. What do you call grandma?

Grandmother: Nani (maternal), DaaDee Jii (paternal)

Grandfather: Nana (maternal), DaaDaa Jii (paternal)

India has over 22 major languages, and depending on the region you are in, you might hear a variety of names for grandparents. For example, in one of India’s languages,Telugu, grandma is am’mam’ma, and grandpa is tatayya.

Morocco (Arabic)

Grandmother: Jaddah (juddah)

Grandfather: Jad (jud) 

A common Arabic proverb about grandparents goes, “Only your grandchild is dearer to you than your child.”

France (French)

Grandmother: Grand-mère (gran-mare)

Grandfather: Grand-père (gran-pear)

French-Canadian versions of grandma and grandpa are slightly different, with many people using the terms mémèreand pépère.

Grandparents holding an umbrella with a little girl.

Israel (Hebrew)

Grandmother: Savta

Grandfather: Saba

Grandchildren may also call their grandmothers Bubbe or Bubby and their grandfathers Zaydeor Zayda, the Yiddish words for these titles.

Sweden (Swedish)

Grandmother: Mormor (maternal), Farmor (paternal)

Grandfather: Morfar (maternal), Farfar (paternal)

Swedish last names often employ patronymics,the tradition of adding a suffix or prefix to the father’s name and passing it on to the child.

A little boy and girl laughing with their grandfather. Discover what to call grandma and grandpa

Brazil (Portuguese)

Grandmother: Avó (ah-vah)

Grandfather: Avô (ah-voah)

It’s not uncommon to find three generations living under one roof. The word for“family” (parentela) often refers to extended family as well, not just immediate family.

Spain (Spanish)

Grandmother: Abuela

Grandfather: Abuelo

Spaniards have the highest life expectancy in Europe, living on average for 85.8 years. This long life means more time with grandparents!

Kenya (Swahili)

Two grandparents smiling

Grandmother: Bibi (bee-bee)

Grandfather: Babu (bah-boo)

In Kenya, according to tradition,the youngest son is responsible for caring for his aging parents.

Italy (Italian)

A grandmother with her granddaughter

Grandmother: La Nonna (non-na)

Grandfather: Il Nonno (non-no)

In Italian culture, people have a deep respect for elderly family members. These senior members are deeply invested in their children and grandchildren’s lives, and this care comes with the expectation that their children and grandchildren will likewise care for them throughout their old age.

It’s fun to know what other people call their grandparents, but it’s even better to actually call and talk to your grandparents! When you call, ask your grandparents to share some of their stories with you. Need some ideas? Check out this article about how you can preserve your grandparents’ stories!

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