Motherhood

What Do You Call the Grandparents?

What Do You Call the Grandparents?

Thanksgiving is this week, and Christmas is 31 days away (but who’s counting?), so as people gear up to see family, I’m curious: What do you call the grandparents? Our names are weird…

For my own grandparents, we called them Milly and Dilly (my dad’s side) and Nana and Bumpa (my mom’s side). No idea why!

In 2009, the Boston Globe reported that the older generation is moving away from the classic “Grandpa” and “Grandma” titles, in an effort to feel younger. “Sure, they want to be grandparents,” they wrote, “Just don’t call them that.” The New Grandparents Name Book suggests alternate names, like “Bubbles,” “Pebbles,” “Rocky” or — for wine enthusiasts — “Sonoma” and “Napa.”

When Toby was born, we weren’t sure what to call our parents. Alex’s mom wanted to be called “Grandma,” so after brainstorming alternatives, my mom settled on “Nana.” For my dad, “Grandpa” felt absurd. He is debonaire and all my friends secretly think he’s a spy; Grandpa just felt too pipe-and-cardigan-y. When Toby arrived, we started off calling him a rotating list of names (Jeremy, Grampy, Gramps…) until finally Toby, who couldn’t pronounce Grandpa, called him “Opa” when he was about a year old. And it stuck! We didn’t realize at the time that Opa and Oma are the names for grandparents in Germany and the Netherlands. Maybe it originated because it’s easy for kids to say?

My sister’s daughter calls her Indian grandparents Thatha and Nanamma, and our wonderful Italian neighbor is known around town as “Nonna.” My friend’s child calls her grandparents “Lolo” and “Lola,” names that are used in the Philippines.

What Do You Call the Grandparents?

So, I’m curious: What about you? What do you call your own grandparents? What do your kids call your parents?

P.S. FaceTime with grandparents and what are your favorite baby names?

(My grandfather Dilly, at top, who has the same upper lip as Anton! And Dilly and me, below, at my grandparents’ house in Cornwall.)

  1. Peggi says...

    Oh my goodness! My grandparents on my mother’s side were Nana and Bumpa! I always thought I was the only kid in the world with a Bumpa. For sure, he was a pretty singular fella.

  2. Meg says...

    My dad’s nickname is “Red” and when my son was born, somehow that evolved into “Papa Rouge” we love it. It kind of reminds me of something you’d call Santa Claus!

    • Blandine says...

      Very cute!

  3. Charlotte K says...

    My own grandparents were Dedo (based on her name Theo) and Babber (dad’s side) and Oma, which is the German version (mom’s side–we didn’t know our grandfather who died young).
    My family likes Mimi and Nana for the grandmas in our generation. One of my brothers was asked what he wanted to be called as a grandfather, and he said “Nomar!” (for the baseball player Nomar Garciaparra). So….that is what he is called by his grandkids which just cracks me up every time. Otherwise it is Pops and Grandpa….

  4. bisbee says...

    I AM a grandparent! We are Jewish, so I am Bubbie and my husband is Zayde. My daughter-in-law’s parent are deceased, but they had chosen Nana and Pop-Pop. My ex- MIL is Great Gran. My ex is Grandpa Marc. It works…I am a grandmother, so I welcomed the name!

  5. sabba and savta, grandad and grandma in Hebrew. That’s what we knew them as

  6. It’s funny one for me! The familial word for Grandmère in France is Mamie. But me being Irish, I kind of liked the idea of being called Mammy (very Irish way of saying Mom) by my children. I had to drop it as soon as we moved here. People would look at me oddly when my daughters called me Mammy- thinking that I was their grandmother. I’ve gone back to plain old Mum now!

  7. India says...

    My cousins children call their grandpa Bumpa too! I think it’s because the eldest grandchild couldn’t say grandpa but said Bumpa and it stuck! They also have a Gigi too. I’m surprised at the amount of both of those names in the comments section! Fun to read all the comments and now Im wondering what my parents will end up being called! Thanks for the fun post :)

  8. tiaheidi says...

    In Finland there are few variations as well, these are the most common

    Grandmother: Mummo, mummi, mumma
    Grandfather: Ukki, vaari, pappa

    the word for mother is äiti and father isä, very different of these grandparent variations :)

  9. Hannah K says...

    Reading these made me very nostalgic, my Gran (Ouma/Oums – We are Afrikaans) passed 2 months ago and I miss her every day.

  10. My aunts grandkids call her ‘honey’ which I think is so cute!

  11. My aunt’s grandkids call her”honey” and I think that is so cute!!

  12. Simone says...

    I am Mim and my husband is Dor Dor ( short for Jidore) as he is Lebanese.
    Tayte is the Lebanese version of grandmother.
    My grandparents were Nan & Da (Irish for grandfather)

  13. Emma says...

    My parents are Granny Jean and Grandpa Geoff and my Israeli husband’s parents are Savta and Saba (sometimes Saba Boo). There don’t seem to be many (or any?) alternatives to Savta and Saba for Jewish Israelis and the terms seem to be less ‘name’-like and more ‘title’-like than the English versions. That’s why I always correct my in-laws when they refer to my parents as Savta Jean and Saba Geoff – those aren’t their names! Also, my daughter often calls me Ima, when I’d much rather be Mummy!

  14. Jessica says...

    I also call my Dutch grandparents Opa and Oma :)
    In Afrikaans, a language which came from Dutch, we call grandparents Oupa and Ouma, where “ou” means old and “ma”/”pa” means mom/dad… so it’s literally old mom and old dad! I always assumed that the Dutch had the same meaning since the two languages are so similar :)

  15. june2 says...

    I grew up using Babji (bobchee) and Jaja which I think was Polish or some derivative of that. No idea what my future kids will use…

    • Kelly Callahan says...

      My mother used those for my great-grandparents (her grandparents – polish – I called her Nana; never met him)

  16. My nephew calls my mom “Dilla” – when he was born my mom gave the family a Granadilla (Passion Fruit) plant, and we joked about how ‘Granadilla’ sounds like ‘Granny Dilla’, so the name ‘Dilla’ stuck. We called my Dad’s parents Mi & Fa and my Mom’s mom was Golly (also a mispronunciation of Granny).

  17. Lauren B says...

    We also have several non traditional names. My maternal grandmother was Namie (what my mom called her grandmother), her husband is my Papa. My paternal grandparents are Papa John and SueSue (from Susan). My parents are Namie and SamPa (my dad Sam, who didn’t want to be called Grandpa).

  18. Katie K says...

    My mom’s mom was grandma to me, so before my son was born we figured my mom would now be grandma to him. At some point, during those first words days, grandma became ama and it stuck. I think it’s kind of sweet and perfect because before I could say grandma I called my grandma ami. My dad is grandad to my son (for no particular reason) and my in laws are grandma k and grandpa k (their last name starts with a k).
    My best friend is half Filipino and her mom is Lola to her kids, and my son also calls her that. It’s funny because while I think of it as such a pretty sounding name, my friend’s mom associates it with your typical old granny type of women, which she definitely is not!

  19. annelies says...

    We have opa and oma (dutch side) and papy and mamie (french side). The different cultures do help tell people apart!

  20. Darby says...

    My dad had this idea he wanted the grandchildren to call him “King” but for some reason, he ended up with the nickname “Wacko”. My mom is Gabby and my husband’s parents are Nanny and Bap:)

  21. hanna says...

    I’m Swedish so my parents are called Mormor (meaning mother’s mother) and my father is Morfar (mother’s father). My husband is American so his parents go by Grandpa and Grandma. As a result, there is never any confusion as to what set of parents we are referring to.

  22. Shivani says...

    In our family, traditionally paternal grandparents are dada and dadi and maternal grandparents nana and nani. For some reason my older cousins called my dad’s mom olimami which literally means; that mom. I assume as kids they wanted to differentiate between their mom and grandmom and it just stuck. Everyone who hears that now finds it very funny!! But I love that I have a unique name for her.

  23. Elizabeth says...

    Since my mom’s side of the family is Greek my grandfather and step-grandmother were Papou and Yiayia, my maternal grandmother is Gram or Grandmommy, and then my paternal grandparents were the classic Granny and Grandpa.
    My own mom is debating whether she wants to be called Yiayia, The Bullet (her faux circus name–like the guy that gets shot out of a cannon), or Nanna when she’s a grandmother.

  24. My parents were already Grandma and Grandpa to my nieces (their other grandparents are “Mom-ay” and “pop pop”). My Father in Law took a while to decide but went with “Pop” in honor of his brother-in-law who died of cancer last year, whose kids always called him Pop. MIL goes by. . . her first name, as she has also always been to her children.
    Mine were pretty normal, Grandma and Grandpa (whatever their first name is).

  25. i used to always laugh when people asked me to repeat what we called our grandparents. we call my maternal grandmother “gramma” (that one was normal!) and my paternal grandparents “baba” and “pepere”. my baba is ukranian and my pepere was french, so naturally they took on their cultural names. people would ask me, ‘”what is a baba pepere?”!! my husband’s grandparents were “grandma” (maternal) and “meme” & “pepe” (paternal – french acadian).
    it’s interesting to see what our parents have chosen as names for themselves … my mom & dad are “yaya” (i think thats greek, which my mother is not!) and “pepere” and my in-laws are “nana” and “pepe”. just keeping on the tradition of being original!

  26. Lisa says...

    We just went through this with the birth of my son, who is my parents’ first grandbaby. My mom went with the traditional “grandma” but my dad chose “grandy.” My sister insists that grandy is super weird…I will have to send her this post!

    • Michelle Koran says...

      My Dad goes by Grandy, because his name is Andy. We didn’t actually think of it. It was going to be Grandad, but the 6th grandchild came up with it when he couldn’t say Grandad! Not weird at all!

  27. JG says...

    My father was German and therefor Opa. My mother wanted Grandma but Oma was easier to say. My in-laws are Nana and Bobby. Bobby stuck when one of the grand kids couldn’t say Grandpa!

  28. Carrie says...

    Our kids think they’re lucky because they have THREE grandmas. Nonna, Grandma (also known as G-ma) and my favorite, BG, my husband’s stepmom. It stands for Bonus Grandma!

  29. JULIA says...

    Mormor and Morfar (Swedish grandparents on mom’s side, literally traslated means MomMom and MomDad)

    and

    Nanny and Poppop (American grandparents on dad’s side).

  30. Megan says...

    spanky and gram, mutti (german for grandma), grandpa jack and grandma joan

  31. Casey says...

    We grew up with Granny and Paw Paw, now it’s DeeDee, JuJu, Nonna, Gramps, and Paw Paw.

  32. Alyssa says...

    We called my maternal grandparents memere and pepere or mem and pep for short. They are French Canadian. This is about the only French they passed down to us.
    We called great grand parents big memere and big pepere.

  33. Cari says...

    I had a Bumpa :) We called my dad’s dad, Bumpa and his mom is our Grammy. My mom’s mom was also Grammy and her dad was Grandpa. Now my nephew’s call my dad Bumpa. Hooray for Bumpa’s!

  34. My parents are Birdie and Bear to my 3 year old daughter. I’m a wildlife biologist and it fit their chatty and bellowing personalities so much that I couldn’t resist…

  35. Anu says...

    I’m from India. I called my maternal grandparents by the Tamil names for grandmother and grandfather (Paati and Thatha respectively). However, I called my paternal grandparents Grandma and Grandpa probably because I generally spoke to them in English. My husband is from Eastern Europe and called each grandmother Babushka followed by their name and each grandfather Dyadushka followed by their name. It’s going to be interesting when we have kids!

    • Jacque says...

      My daughter has seven grandparents so distinction is important! My stepmom is Ukrainian so my parents chose to go by Babushka and Dyadushka, but my daughter didn’t stand a chance at pronouncing those. She is 21 months old now and has settled on calling them Baba and Deda!

  36. L says...

    We have Mom Mom and Pop (in laws) and Mum Mum and Pap (my parents). My dad asked to be called Pap as that’s what he remembers calling his grandfather, who was very dear to him. From time to time, when he really wants to emphasize who is who, my four year old will refer to his grandmothers according to the streets they live on “Mom Mom on Ringgold Street,” for example. Cracks me up.

    • Lol, I used to refer to my grandparents according to the city they stayed in too – Margao nana and Margao Papa, and Colva Nana and Colva Papa! (Places in Goa, India)

  37. LaurenB says...

    we let our parents pick their own “grandparent” names when our son was born. They are Nana, Pop, G, and Gigi (she originally chose Nona, but it never stuck…). G is definitely my dad trying to be hip – I love it! I hope our son will use these names when he is a bit older, but we’ll see what happens.

    Growing up, my husband and I called our grandparents: Nana/Grandpa, Granny/Papa, Nana/Gramps, Gram/Pop — oddly similar but paired up differently!

    • tunie says...

      Poppa G, love it! Ultra hip as well as a total ringer for papaji, a well-known Indian guru. What could be more fitting for a wise old grandfather?!

  38. For my grand parents on one side is my Nanny. On my mother’s side I have poppy and Morgie. This throws people off a bit when I say “Morgie & poppy’s house”. Some people have even thought my pop had remarried, but nope. Mom says it’s all thanks to me. I used to differentiate my Nans as Nanny (insert last name), but apparently around the age of four I got very tired of doing that so one Nan I left as Nanny and my other nan got Morgie because of the “ie” like the end of nanny and Morg from Morgan. I feel like I may have done this because of Nans are also very different from each other one is very conservative and the other acts about 20 years younger than what she is which is why Morgie suits so well :)

  39. Mary says...

    Ama (from the Spanish verb Amar which means to love)
    Jefe (boss man, Spanish)
    Tita (short for Abuelita)

    • L says...

      I love Ama – what a nice sentiment!

    • I don’t say Ama, but some of my family members do. Funny though since, for us, it came about differently. Amá for us has stress on the second a, so it’s a just a shortened way of saying “Mama.”

  40. Sara says...

    I love that Toby came up with Opa on his own! I also couldn’t say Grandpa as a kid and started calling him “Ompa.” I was asked when I was about 5 why I called him Ompa and replied “Because I can’t say grandfather.” My Ompa would regularly speak little bits of German so it’s really odd that I started calling him something so close to the German word for Grandpa out of the blue.

  41. i called my late grandparents grandmommy and grandaddy which felt intimate and sweet. now my parents are grandaddy and gigi (they chose) for the grandchildren! i love seeing generations choose and love reading other’s comments. i laugh out loud when i think about “grumpa and funpa” on modern family :)

  42. Boa says...

    My little one calls my in-laws, “mima and papa.” They insisted we call them that as well so she would learn.
    She calls my parents, “grandma and peepa.” My father is so pleased he gets an invented name and she is truly the apple of his eye.

  43. Megan says...

    Growing up, we referred to our grandparents by their last names: Grandpa Griffin/ Grandma Moriarty. Yet, when speaking to them directly, it was simply, Grandma or Grandpa. My cousins were born in Germany, so for them it was Oma and Opa. Myself, I could not pronounce grandpa, so “Popeye” it was. Thanks for the memory!

  44. We had Mimi and Poppy and Nana and Grampa. Mimi had originally wanted her grandchildren to call her by her first name, Francine, but that didn’t take. My mother is also Francine, and I’ve said that NATURALLY, she has to be Grancine, or Granny Franny (She goes by Cinie and HATES Franny, even though I love it). My Dad has insisted his grandkids call him Bobby (his name), which I think makes sense.

  45. Phoebe says...

    Once she could talk, my oldest daughter (now 6) started calling my mother “Hey Mom,” mimicking the way I answered the phone when my mom called. The name stuck and now my mom proudly brandishes it in monograms on beach bags and other gear. The other grandkids call her Hey Mom too and she loves it!

  46. Ingrid says...

    My oldest, the first grandchild, started calling her paternal grandmother, “Grammie,” so that became her name for all the grandkids. Her husband was Grandpa. My mom is from Norway, so she chose a semi-Norwegian name of Bestemomma, and my dad became Bestepoppa. When my grandson was born, I wanted to be Bestemom, so he called my mom “the other Bestemom,” so that’s what we are now. My daughter cried one day because everyone else had a grandmother and she didn’t. She only had a Bestemom and a Grammie. Ha!

  47. Megan says...

    My grandmothers were named after their dogs… Grannie Archie and Granny Sam (not sure why the spelling was different. And then Grandad and Grandpa Joe.

  48. So cute to see what everyone has called their grandparents!

    Mine aren’t super unique, but were always very sweet to me. My dads parents are Grammie and Papa Jack, and my Mom’s are Grampy (Gramps) and Nana.

    My parents are now Grammie and Grampy respectively for my nieces.

  49. I occasionally called my maternal grandmother, Watty. This came around because her name was Dorothy, nickname Dotty. But my older cousin couldn’t properly pronounce Dotty so wall-ah, Watty came about. Then my paternal grandpa’s nickname was cumpa. This is Italian for buddy. I’d probably call him that 50/50 with grandpa. My paternal grandma I’d just call grandma.

  50. Jennifer says...

    My Dad is a Bumpa, too! Sometimes just Bump. I’ve never heard of another family using it. :)

  51. My first niece called my mother “Makka,” a strange rendition of grandma. All her younger sisters have followed suit. It just stuck. :)

  52. Cora says...

    MomMom (almost sounds more like “mummum”) and PopPop. From around rural areas outside Philly/PA Dutch Area.

  53. Claire says...

    We just had our first and it was a big to-do about what to call the grandparents. None of them wanted grandparenty-y names like grandpa and grandma or bubby and zeidy! So in the end my husband’s parents are Saba and Savta (Hebrew), my mom is Lou Lou, and my dad is Papito.

  54. My parents are “Jenny and Bobo” to my 3 year old niece. Jenny came from my dad’s nickname for my mom (whose real name is Jenay), and Bobo was entirely invented by my niece. I think they are pretty cute names!

  55. Maggie says...

    I called my maternal grandparents (they have since passed away), “Popo” (Cantonese for grandmother) and “Avo” (Portuguese for grandfather – he was from Maccao). I called my maternal great-grandmother “Two-Popo” because she was my second grandmother.
    I christened my paternal grandmother “Grandma No No” because apparently all my toddler self heard her say to me was, “No!”.

  56. Kristen says...

    Grammy on my dad’s side. I always wondered what we would’ve called my grandfather. He passed away before any grand kids came along. On my mom’s side we had Babci and Dziadzi, which are Polish names for grandma and grandpa. I’m not really sure the correct pronunciation, but we said hem like: Bachi and Jojie.

  57. Meagan says...

    I’m from a strongly southern family (North Carolina+Texas). My grandparents are Memaw, Grandpa, Mamaw, Papaw (pronounced pap-aw), and Papaw (pronounced pop-aw). My great grandmothers are granny and great-Mamaw, great grandfathers a combination of grandpa+their surname. I have no clue what my kids will call my parents. It’s strange to think about! :)

  58. My daughter calls her Arabic speaking Moroccan grandma “Muinti” and my Canadian parents Grammy and Grampy.

    Interestingly, my friends Danish mom is called “Mormor” (Mother’s mother) by her child, and “Farmor” (Father’s mother) by her brother’s children, which seems confusing to me!

  59. Kirstin says...

    “Nagypapa” (nodgepapa – Hungarian)
    “”memme”
    “Pa” – my dad, Nana – my mum,
    “Nan – Nan” is my nan

  60. Angela says...

    I have a Grandma and a GranJan (my Grandma’s best friend, whom she has lived with since they were both widowed), and. Mamaw and a Papaw. Now my son calls my Dad “Papaw” -a perfect fit, though I tried to sell him on “Big Daddy”- and my Mom “Nana.” My husbands parents are Grandma and Grandpa. My Mamaw and Papaw are still living and active in my son’s life, so he calls them Mamaw and GranPapaw!

  61. Growing up I had Granny and Grampa on my maternal side, and Nana and Grampa on my paternal side.

    My boy has Granny, and like Toby, he couldn’t pronounce Grampa. It came out Pepper – and it stuck!!

    On his paternal side he has Mama D and Poppy. I notice the “Mama and first initial” is becoming a popular choice!

  62. “Grandmary” for my maternal grandmother whose name is Mary. My French friend calls his “Mima” pronounced “mee-mah” …so sweet.

  63. Caitlin says...

    Growing up, we always called my grandparents (on both sides) Grandma or Grandpa followed by their first names — Grandpa Dave, for example.

    My husband called his mom’s parents “grandad” and “grandy”, but his father’s parents “grandmother” and “grandfather”. His parents chose “Dee” (short for grandy, and also her first initial) and “Pop” which are super easy to say!

    I wonder what my parents will choose when we have kids…

  64. tiffany says...

    We use pretty common names but each grandparent is different. Grandma, Grandpa, Papa, Nana and this is the fun one my father in law is Popperooni.

  65. Mike McDowell has the best grandpa name: “Bilbo.” I will be a new grandma in January. At first I considered “GiGi” but after considering my Italian heritage, I chose “nonna.” My grandchild will be Cuban and Italian and I know bilingual, so I have to get some Italian in there somewhere!
    PS
    Missing Toby and Anton!

  66. Emily says...

    We call my dad’s parents Nana and Papa. Then a few years ago Nana decided it was high time for a promotion and she would he called Nanette. This was around the time my husband first met her, now he remembers her promotion more than anyone else and she has declared him her favorite!

  67. That’s so cute about the accidental Opa, because I call my grandparents Oma and Opa due to being German. My other set of grandparents are just grandma and grandpa. We have some cousins who have had funny names for their grandparents, like Mamoose. Really cute :) I also saw a post on facebook recently where a kid I went to hs with called his grandma mom-mom!

  68. Jay says...

    Nain and Taid – its Welsh. It sounds like Nine and Tide x

  69. My kids call my parents Nana (nah-nah) and Tata. Since that it what I call my grandparents they call their great grandparents Big Nana and Big Tata!

  70. Emily says...

    Maternal: Grandma and Grandpa
    Paternal: Me and Pop – “Me” came from her initials M.E. for Mary Emma :-). Somehow “Me” wasn’t confusing even though aunts ended up saying things like, “Go take that into the house to Me” or “Me wants you inside.”

  71. Allison says...

    My father is half Portuguese and my mother is Japanese. My children call them “Vuvu” and “Bachan”, which is “grandpa” and “grandma” in Portuguese and Japanese, respectively. These are the names my parents called their grandparents and it seems wonderful to be able to connect four generations with using these names. We also didn’t feel it was right calling our parents “grandpa” and “grandma”, so these were a really a nice solution.

  72. Joanna says...

    My four year old nephew calls his (Italian) great grandma Nonna and his grandma, whose name is Beatrice, GranBea. I think the nicknames are simultaneously sweet and easy to pronounce!

    On a somewhat related note, two friends of mine who each have a son mentioned recently that their respective mothers-in-law both requested to be referred to as “Glamma.” Fortunately, the nickname did not catch on in either case ;)

  73. My parents are Janny & Gaga. My mum’s name is Jan & she preferred Janny to Nanny. My sister overheard an English family calling their grandpa Gaga & loved it so she christened Dad Gaga. He’s a young, fit and healthy grandpa, but one day when he’s senile it’ll fit!
    My husband’s parents are Nana and Poppy Twig. Everyone calls my father in law Twig, but he wanted the girls to call him Poppy. Then we went and confused things by calling our daughter Poppy, so he’s now Poppy Twig.
    Growing up my grandfather’s were Pa and Pa Hat (because Pa Hat always wore a hat). Pa is still alive and is GGPa to my girls.

  74. My maternal grandmother we call “Babci.” Polish for grandmother (sort of), it somehow turned into “Bopper” or “Bop” :)

  75. Laura B says...

    My dad didn’t want my daughters to call him grandpa “becauce it makes me sound like an old man”.

    So I started referring to him exclusively as “old man” in front of my girls. Which us what they call him now. :-) He thinks it’s cute though (as do I).

  76. Autumn says...

    My parents are called Papa and Honey! My mom became a grandma at 45 so she didn’t want the traditional name. It’s adorable now!

  77. Sofia says...

    I’m from the Philippines, I call my maternal grandmother ‘Lola,’ as mentioned in your post. My paternal grandmother is ‘Lolita’ which is a diminutive of ‘lola.’ My maternal grandfather is ‘Dada.’

  78. Jane says...

    My Dad had called my Mom “Boo” for my whole life… Not just as a term of endearment every once in a while; he ALWAYS addresses her as Boo. I’ve heard him call her by her real name a handful of times, and only during arguments. So, naturally my mom wished to be called Grandma Boo, but my son and niece just call her Boo. My dad is GPa, and my mother in law is Mimi (her name is Sandy- my son picked that one out!)

    We called my maternal grandparents Grandma and Grandpa Duck. My grandfathers name was Richard, so Dick as nickname. My brother tried and failed to say Dick… They had a lifetime of duck themed presents!

    • Jay says...

      This is so cute x

  79. Following Cantonese tradition, our son calls his grandparents the same thing that I call my grandparents. Something I’ve always been really fascinated by is that in Cantonese, you refer to your relatives in very specific ways depending on their relationship to your parents/grandparents and birth order. He calls his maternal grandparents Gung Gung and Por Por, and he calls his paternal grandparents Yah Yah and Ma Ma. It’s amazing that you can tell so much about someone just from their name!

    • cg says...

      YES! THIS! I am of Cantonese and Hainanese descent. Every relative has a specific way to be called and you can tell if this person is older or younger than your parents, maternal or paternal side, etc.

      I called my maternal grandparents as Pau Pau and Gung Gung, but I didn’t like Yeh Yeh and Nai Nai/Ma Ma for my paternal grandparents when I was young and insisted that I called them PP and GG as well.

      My daughter calls my parents PP and GG, and her paternal grandparents (my husband’s family is of Irish & Welsh descent) Grandma and Grandpa. But sometimes she uses all four terms interchangeably and calls all four of by the other term. It’s cute that they all respond.

  80. KB says...

    Memere & Pepere (French Canadian), or for short, Mem & Pep!

  81. Raras says...

    From my husband’s side, my daughter calls her grandma “Uti” and her grandpa “Akung”. From my side, grandma is “Yangti” and “Yangkung”.

  82. emma says...

    nama + tapa! I think the oldest child sets the stage with whatever they can pronounce when they start to speak and then it just sticks…

  83. My grandparents were both Yiayia and Papou (we are Greek-American), but my husband’s from England and grew up with a Nanny and a Grand-Dad. That will be a little strange for me but I know his mum will love it :)

  84. Katy says...

    Nonnie and Papa (my mom’s parents), and Grandma and Grandpa (my dad’s parents).

  85. Sarah says...

    I’m due with my first child in May and my MIL wants to be called “Malene” (Mah-len). It was her childhood nickname, though no one calls her that anymore. I think it’s sweet and hope my child will pick it up.

    Growing up, we always ended up shorting my Cuban grandmother’s title from Abuela to something that sounds like “Wella”.

    • What a cute idea, calling your grandparent after their childhood nickname!

  86. Sam Stone says...

    Gogo and Berbie!

  87. Katie Larissa says...

    The grandkids call my mom “Marmee” because Little Women was one of our favorite books growing up. We all love it!

  88. Samantha says...

    My parents are called nana and papa. My niece (the first grandchild) started calling them that and the grandchildren after her have followed suit.

  89. Caz says...

    I call both of my grandmothers Nanna (a surname was added to one if we needed to differentiate). One grandfather was Pop, while the other was Grandad.

    My dad, who is now a grandfather, didn’t want to be called either of those, so he is Grandpa.

    Some of these names in the comments are adorable!

  90. Jennifer O. says...

    I wonder if some of the alternative nicknames are because the now great-grandparents are still alive? My grandparents are/were called Grandmama and Papa and Grandpa Joe (his wife, my grandmother died before I was born). Now my parents are called Gamma and Grandpa Joe, not so exciting. But my brother-in-law’s parents are divorced and remarried so they have some creative names with three of each grandparent.

  91. anika says...

    my daughter calls my mom Mor Mor (Swedish for mothers mother) and my dad Sia (Sri Lankan for grandpa). My in laws are Grammy and Pappa. We know one grandma of all of our friends and that grandma lets my daughter call her that. Its funny it is grandma and grandpa are pretty abnormal.

  92. Jess says...

    My mother, who was very “Grammy” adverse decided to go by Go-go. My two year old loves it. My step-dad just became “Pa” without any guidance from us – but it is what we grew up calling my grandfather. She has a “Grammie” on my husband’s side.

  93. Stefana says...

    i call both sets of grandparents “bunicu” and “bunica” which means grandfather and grandmother in romanian. my mom, however, calls her parents “măicuța” (a diminutive of mama – mother) and “tătucu” (a diminutive of tata – father). she used to call her maternal grandparents “mama” and “tata” (the whole family lived in one house) and her paternal grandparents, who lived across the street from them “mama din-colo” and “tata din-colo” which literally translates to “parents from the other place”. i always find it hilarious trying to imagine a conversation between them – they died before i was born. “mom from the other place, can you give me some water to take to dad from the other place? he says he’s thirsty”

  94. Natasha says...

    My maternal grandparents are nana and grandad. My dad’s parents are grannie and grandpa. When I was born (the oldest grandchild), they chose their own names!

  95. Tracy says...

    Mine are Mamaw and Papaw. And Grandmom and Granddad

  96. Christine Hart says...

    I am Meme….with acute accents on the ‘e’s. My heritage is French Canadian (Acadian) and this is what we grew up calling our grandmothers. Grandfathers were “Pepe”. Same accents.

    • Jay says...

      Meme is such a nice name for a grandma :)

  97. Karen in VA says...

    Both of my own grandparents were granny and grandpa (with last names when needed). Later I thought granny was strange since all my friends used grandma. Much later I realized that granny was very English, Queen Elizabeth is granny.

    My cousin and her husband chose Mimi and Pops.

    My sister and husband wanted the traditional grandma and grandpa. My girlfriend’s son calls her mother Crackers, she says she has no idea where it came from.

    It’s such an interesting topic … Thanks

    Karen in VA

  98. How funny! we also called my grandparents Nana and Bumpa – I have never heard of anyone else using Bumpa! My grandmother was called Grammy after Grammy Hall from Annie Hall. My mom and step-dad are Nonny and Pop Pop to my kids, my dad is Bumpa (to keep the tradition alive), my step-mom kind of varies, and my husbands parents are Granny and Grandad (or ‘Dangad Fixing it’ as my kids 2.5 yr old twins say as he’s always fixing things)

  99. Paz says...

    My daugther calls Abo (for grandfather) and Aba (for grandmother). We live in Madrid (Spain). They both love the names ; )

  100. Love conversations like this! My parents on my mom’s side passed away years before I was born. On my dad’s side, they were Pop-Pop and Mom-Mom. I was actually quite self-conscious about having what was, at the time in the mid-late 80s and 90s, such unusual names for my grandparents. At least, I thought they were unusual. I remember saying to my Mom-Mom once when she’d taken me to Toys R Us, “You ARE my Grandma. I COULD call you that.” She just looked at me strangely and said, “Well… yes….” Now I love those names and think they are so sweet. Miss them every day now that they are gone. I love names like Nana and Gramps and could understand why Grandma and Grandpa are becoming less popular. I’ve not yet jumped on the super creative grandparent nickname bandwagon yet, though! My husband and I are hoping that 2016 will be the year of baby for us, and my mom wants to be called Abuelita (she was a Spanish teacher…). I think it’s a bit off-the-wall, but I suppose it would help me embrace the newer, non-traditional nicknames!

  101. Jordan says...

    I love reading all the different names. I’m much closer with my mom’s side of the family. My grandmother is Mumzee and my grandfather was Bubba. I always enjoyed having special names for them.

    My mom has already decided she wants to be Yiayia when I have children.

    • my Mom too!

  102. Ana says...

    Hello! When I was a little girl I used to call them Tata (grandma) and Titi (grandpa), I dont remember why.
    Now I have a 2 year old toddler and althoght we told him to call my father Elias (he doesnt want to be grandpa haha), he started with Eli, Elli… but one day he called him… Titi!! Why? No idea…
    About grandma… His first “words” were “mama” and “tata”, and my mother decided that he was calling her.
    So now they are Tata and Titi, and my grandparents were Tata and Titi too. Coincidence?

  103. bethyp says...

    Grandma Barbara got morphed into “Baba” which is perfect given her Croatian heritage! Grandpa is Papa, so we have Baba and Papa on that side. It’s fun.

  104. Morgan says...

    We called ours Nennie and Boo. The first grandchild named them and us younger ones followed suit. Like you, no idea where those came from!

  105. Alex says...

    My parents are from Argentina, and we call my mother’s mom “Abu,” short for Abuelita. She is a tiny, adorable, nearly-90 year old spitfire and the name just fits!

  106. Debra Hannah says...

    My sisters and I called both sets of grandparents (both farm folks) Grandmother and Grandfather. Although they were farmers, all four were HIGHLY intelligent and I think they just wanted the “respect” those proper names conferred. My own kiddos called my parents Grandmother and Grandfather as well. Everyone would comment that “Grandmother” sounded soooo formal, to which my mom would say, “Not when a two year old says it!!” :-)
    Our kiddos called my hubby’s parents, Grammy and Grandaddy -which is what his grandparents were called! Now that we are grandparents our names are “Honey” and “Grandaddy!!”

  107. Annie says...

    We called our mom’s parents gramma and grampa. My dad’s parents are divorced (and have been long before any of us kids were born). We call my dad’s mom Nanny, no idea why, and my dad’s dad and step mom Papa and Granny. But in recent years she’s asked us to start calling her Ma’am… So strange!

  108. It’s tradition in my family to call the grandpa of the family Pamp, I don’t know why but it’s just seemed to carried through generations. I don’t have a father so my Pamp will also be my children’s which both he and I will love! I hope my future spouse will want to continue the tradition!

  109. I love how your posts switch things up… sometimes, like now, making me go to the parts of my mind that feel sweet and nostalgic. My grandparents, on both sides, are from Italy (but immigrated into NYC at the turn of last century). So their grandparent names are fairly traditional. My siblings and I called our maternal grandparents Grandma Natale and Grandpa Natale (with their last name! Every time!) and our paternal grandparents Nanny and Gramps:)

  110. Lizzie says...

    We called my maternal grandmother “Gommy,” which is the best I could manage for “grandma” when I was tiny. (I was her first grandchild so what I landed on just stuck.) I always loved it and couldn’t imagine having a Grandma instead of a Gommy.

  111. Laurel says...

    My grandparents are French-Canadian, and we all call them Memere and Pepere.

  112. Rebekah Lozano says...

    I called my grandparents “Grandma and Grandpa” followed by the first initial of their last name to differentiate. Sometime in my adulthood, I shortened those names to Gram and Gramps. My parents are Grandma and Grandpa to my daughter, and my husband’s mom is MeMaw (she felt like she was too young to be a “Grandma”). My husband calls his grandparents Granny and Papa. And he has a great-grandma that everyone (including her children) calls Gramps.

  113. my father’s parents are nana and papa. my mother’s mom was grandma and her father and step-mother were grandpa and grammie. i always have preferred one name to when grandmothers on both sides are matched with their first or last name like “grandma diane,” or “grandma obrien” as those read formal to me. for my kids, we asked for input from the grandparents themselves as they were all becoming grandparents for the first time. we have nana, papa, grandma jojo (based on joanne, often referred to just as jojo), bubba, grandpa KOB (his initials which turned to just “b”) and grandma sue. i wanted nona as my husband’s family is Italian, but didn’t fight their choices ;)

  114. Nina says...

    This all sounds so complicated. Being Swedish it is really easy. It is mormor (mother-mother) & morfar (mother-father) on the mothers side and farmor (father-mother) & farfar (father-father) on the fathers.
    Easy peasy and no doubt on whom you’re talking to or about ?.

  115. Sadhbh says...

    Everyone called my paternal grandparents Mammy Byrne and Daddy Byrne (Byrne is our surname), including all their sons and daughters in law! My maternal grandfather was ‘Dodo’ (his name was Joe) and my maternal grandmother is Granny.

  116. Vicki says...

    All of our names are based on whoever had the first kid in the family – on my husband’s side his dad is Papa Frank (due to multiple grandads on my sister in laws side)
    On my side my mom wanted to be Grandma – but when my son called her Nana she loved it and it stuck, and then my dad couldn’t decide and as a joke he said he would be “Silverado” the family thought it was funny and would jokingly called him that for a weekend and then my early talking son started calling him “Rado” and it has stuck! He has 6 grandkids now who all call him Rado.
    So much of it is the kids – they are so cute at that age grandparents let them call them whatever they want!

  117. Linda says...

    My grandmother was Granny, I loved her so much, and that’s what my grandkids call me, so many good memories. My husband is Grampa

  118. This is so interesting! As I’m finnish, I called my grandparents mummo or mummi for frandma and pappa for grandpa. Those are quite traditional I guess, with some variations! I have no idea how my parents want to be called when the time comes, we’ll see ;)

  119. Lindsay says...

    I called my grandparents Farm Grandma and Grandpa (my dad’s side; lived on a farm) and Duck Grandma and Grandpa (my mom’s side; lived on a pond with ducks).

    My girls are blessed to have three sets of grandparents (my parents are divorced). All three Grandmas are called Grandma (name). But the Grandpas are Bumpa (my dad), Papa (my step dad) and Poppy (my father in law).

  120. Michele M says...

    It’s very hard for my son to say his “G’s” – I feel like that is hard for a lot of kids – so he calls my parents, Nanny and Hapa, and my in-laws, Dama and Boppo. Those are his attempts at pronouncing the G sound!

  121. Char says...

    We called my dad’s parents “gramma-n-grampa-at-the-farm” (said really fast with the words blended together) and my mom’s parents were “gramma and grampa Bock”. This was only when we were talking about them. When we were with them, they were just gramma and grampa.
    My husband’s parents have chosen Bubbie and Papa. Mine are still undecided, though I think my dad is leaning towards Grumpa.

  122. I grew up calling my grandparents on both sides of my family, the traditional grandpa and grandma. My dad grew up calling his grandpa “Poppy,” and now my niece and nephew have gone back to using Poppy, so my dad is now called the same name he called his grandfather!

    http://lessthanaverageheight.com/

  123. Annika says...

    We had the same problem, but spiced up by remarried parents (what to call their new spouses?). And our families have different traditions. Coming from Germany Oma and Opa were set, but it is usually followed by a name to identify which Oma and Opa you are referring to.
    My husband’s family used the family names (e.g. Oma and Opa Schmidt) while my family used first names (e.g. Oma Hilde und Opa Arno).
    But our son surprised us, for he chose to identify his grandparents according to their dogs – so now it is Oma and Opa Bronko for my husband’s parents and Oma Einstein for my mom (which is just hillarious). My dad does not have a dog, so naturally he is called Opa Claudi – the name of his new spouse ;-)

    • Anna says...

      We have used “Oma” and “Opa” for the grandparents, adding a first name for the great-grandparents, only now *my* oma seems attached to “Oma”, and calls my mother “die Sabine Oma”, which makes me laugh!
      (My daughter’s name is Annika!)

  124. My boys are 11m and 2.5 years, and my parents (who live in Austin) are Bootsie and G Daddy. I’ll admit I think they are the greatest names ever. My mom had suggested Bootsie as a joke but it stuck! My dad intended to be Grandaddy (we still call him Daddy) but my son said G Daddy, and we loved that.

    • Jen says...

      Love this!!p

    • Jay says...

      That is so sweet :)

  125. I grew up calling my grandparents on both sides of my family, the traditional grandpa and grandma. My dad grew up calling his grandpa “Poppy,” and now my niece and nephew have gone back to using Poppy!

  126. Trish O says...

    When I was little I called my grandparents Mama and Nehne (dont know why) and Grandmother and Granddaddy with I was older. My kids call my parents Grandmoms and Granddado.

  127. Ellen says...

    My husband was the first-born grandchild on his mom’s side, so he essentially got to “choose” their nicknames. Pappy was easy enough for a baby to say, but his word for Grandma was “Nina”. Now everyone in his family calls her Nina! Fast forward to today: I am pregnant (!!) and we are about to give them their first GREAT grand child! If it’s a girl, her name will be… Nina!

    • Nina says...

      It’s a beautiful name I rarely hear. ;) Congratulations! I’m due in February and need to pick a name for my little guy.

    • Jay says...

      That’s so nice :) I hope she is a girl!

    • ashley b says...

      that was my grandmother’s real name, which we also called her by. while not pregnant, it’s on my list of future child names. :)

  128. I always just called my grandparent grandma and grandpa. My kids have a grammy and papa on my husband’s side and a grandpa and meme on my side (meme’s family is french, soooo…)

  129. Callie says...

    My son Ronan just turned two yesterday. My parents are called “Grama and Grandpa,” but he has always called them “Mamba and Bumpa!” I can’t believe you have a Bumpa too, Joanna, hilarious!

  130. Mirte says...

    Coming from the Netherlands I find it really cool that Toby uses opa. We call my grandparents opa and oma when we address them, but when I still had both my paternal and maternal grandparents we used ‘oma mummy’ and ‘opa muis’ (grandma mummy and grandpa mouse) and ‘oma pakkie’ en ‘opa kippie’ (grandma smooch and grandpa chicken) when we talked about them. My older sister came up with these names when she was little. My dad’s dad used to pretend his handkerchief was a pet mouse, so he was the opa with the mouse and my dad’s mom called my sister her ‘moppie’ (sweetie), which my sister couldn’t pronounce, so it became ‘mummy’. My other grandma used to say ‘give me a big smooch’ (‘geef me eens een flinke pakkerd’) and my grandpa’s family nickname was ‘kiep’, meaning chicken. Now that my sister has a little girl, my parents are her opa and oma and my grandparents are ‘opapa’ and ‘omama’, because they are now ‘extra’ or double grandparents :)

  131. As a Greek girl, I called my grandfather Paupou (pronounced PAH-POO) and call my grandmother Yiayia (pronounced Yayee-ya). I never knew my other grandparents so I don’t know what they would have been called. I have friends who’s grandparents are called Bop (grandfather) and Gee (grandmother) and then Nana and Papa. But I’m loving reading about all these other names, I’m sure my mom will probably be called Yiayia as well but it could change.
    x Tali
    http://www.yebbielife.com

  132. Bethanne says...

    these are great! My Sicilian grandparents are Nonni and Nono, my French grandparents are Meme and Pepe. I already know I want to be a “Nana” one day:)

  133. Katie says...

    My great grandparents were called Nonnie and Papa, Grandmother, and another great grandma was Pompom. I called my grandparents Grandma and Grandpa with their first names. Both of my grandpas were named John, but each had nicknames – my mom’s dad was Grandpa Hoohoo, because he had a habit of calling out “hoohoo” when he walked through the door, and my dad’s dad was Grandpa Doc because he was a doctor and folks around town called him Doc. I didn’t know these were nicknames as a kid and I remember feeling betrayed when I learned their real names :) My niece calls my mom G-ma, a name she picked out because it is close to her name, Gina.

  134. Charli says...

    I had a Mamaw and Papaw, and a Grandaddy and Banana! I was Banana’s first grandchild and she wanted to be called “Nana,” but when I said Banana instead, it stuck!

    I also had the joy of knowing two of my great-grandmothers, called Grandma and MeMaw, but I just shortened it to “Maw.”

  135. Liv says...

    My dad is Swedish, so he’s “morfar,” which my girls can’t really say, so they call him “more-fat.” His girlfriend is named Tish, and my girls call her “tissue”

  136. On the German side, Oma and Opa, on the Polish side Bapcia and Dziadek, and on the American, Mimi and Baba. Now my mom is Mimah to my sister’s daughters.

  137. Samantha says...

    When my parents first became grandparents, by dad blatantly said he wanted to be called Boss. Nobody knows if he was serious or joking (I think joking), but it stuck. The first grand baby named my mom, who now goes by Shug. We have no idea where my nephew came up with it!

  138. Victoria says...

    I grew up calling my dad’s parents Nana and Pappy and my mom’s parents Baba and Zedo, which are Slovak terms for grandmother and grandfather. In our family, great-grandparents were still called Baba and Zedo with the addition of their last name. So, I had a Baba, a great-Baba Steeber and a great-Baba Grega.

    Now that my parents have grandchildren, my mom is called Baba by my daughter and my nieces and nephew and my dad is DD. As the first grandchild, my niece started calling my dad DD. We think she heard my mom saying “Jimmy” and my sister saying “Dad,” and she somehow put those sounds together to come up with DD. It stuck :)
    My grandmother is still living, so of course I still call her Baba, but her great-grandchildren call her Baba G (first initial of her last name).

    My husband’s family also referred to grandmothers as Baba, but their pronunciation is “Bub-a.”

  139. Also, my friend spent SO much time with her Grandparents she referred to them as they did each other, Honey and Love!!

  140. We called my Dad’s father Bach, because he always came up to kids fists drawn, bopping around, asking if they wanted to box. ( not always a wise thing as kids can be crotch high)
    Bach was how my brother pronounced it and referred to him, so it stuck. I loved it!
    No one else had a Bach!

  141. Deb Rountree says...

    My Grandfather was called Poppy and when my Dad became a grandfather he also became Poppy. I think my brother will take that name, as well, when the proper time comes.
    My Mom has always been Beany. First she was Aunt Beany to the nephews. Then when my kids came along she just became Beany. (This name was a nickname my Dad had given her when they were dating.)
    Almost three years ago when I found out I was going to be that g-word (NOT ME!!) I had to find something acceptable, that didn’t sound old (Granny), and wasn’t used by everyone around (Gigi). My husband had his already picked out: Abba. I scoured books and the internet in my quest for something I could live with. I landed on Dede. Seems there was another Debbie, on her own quest, and while she didn’t choose a name, apparently the grandchild thought everyone was calling her Dede. And I love it.

  142. Sarah says...

    I have Grandma and PapPaw on my mom’s side and Granny and Papaw on my Dad’s side. Our son and my brother’s kids call our parents Honey and Papa. I also had a great grandfather that went by Poppa Popsey. I remember loving that when I was little.

    One of my dear friend’s dad is called Sir by his grandkids. So cute and funny. He was a stern police officer when I was growing up so the name is perfect for his temperament.

  143. kirsten says...

    My niece calls my dad Pop-Pop and I called my grandfather (who was alive for part of my childhood) Poppy. I liked the derivations of Pop – very jolly. Both my grandmothers were called Gram or Grammie (and we’d add their last name sometimes to distinguish with two).

  144. Ashley says...

    When I was born my mother’s grandmother was still alive and everyone called her “Abuela”. It seemed silly to call her own parents “Abuelo” and “Abuela” so she tried to teach me to say “Abuelito” and “Abuelita” which quickly turned into Tito and Tita. :) I call my paternal grandparents grandma and grandpa!

  145. Laurel says...

    My grandmother is called Grambo. I am a child of the 80’s….Rambo came out when I was about 2, ha! My Grandpa is just Grandpa.

    My sons call my husband’s mother Nonie and my dad is forever known as Poppi. I call him Poppi too and have since high school. We tried for Grand Poppi but it was just too much. Oddly enough, our 3 yo can keep Poppi and Papa separate, as we are Mama and Papa.

    I keep a journal for each of our kids and when our first was born, we were trying out all these different names like Gran and Pop Pop. Seems so long ago! I love the names that stuck.

  146. Gianna says...

    We were pretty typical but I did have a Gammy and I loved that it was different. I am now pregnant and my mom wants to be called Nana a cross between her italian grandmother nonna and her other grandmother nanny. I think my Dad will have to be Pappy or something else incredibly endearing like that.

  147. Jodi says...

    I’ve always called my grandparents on my mother’s side Oma and Opa (they are German) and on my father’s side, my grandmother was always “Grandma Re” (her first name was Marie, and it rolled off the tongue nicely… I never knew if it was Gram Marie or Grandma Re!).

  148. my grandparents were Nana and Boompa too!! I’ve never heard anything close to that until you mentioned your Bumpa. don’t know where it came from, but agree that weird names are much cuter than Grandma & Grandpa

  149. Erin says...

    my paternal grandfather was born in 1897 and grandmother in 1913, so i never met them, but my maternal grandparents were always “grandma” and “grandpa”. Interestingly though, my brother called my grandfather “pa’pom” or “pop’pom” depending how fast/slow you say it, I never did though!
    My mom hates hates hates “nana” and other nicknames, and my dad is the most traditional man I’ve ever met, so they will probably also be grandma and grandpa.