25 Alternative Names for Grandma and Grandpa

Updated: August 25, 2020
If grandma and grandpa don't want to be called "grandma" and "grandpa," we've got the ultimate list of alternative names for grandparents from different backgrounds and of varying levels of formality.
25 alternate names for grandma and grandpa

Whether grandparents want to choose their own name or wait for their grandchildren to choose what to call them, the options are endless. Some families have traditional names that are passed from generation to generation, others are looking for something new and trendy; whichever the reason, the options are endless.

Some of the best grandparent nicknames come from grandkids’ inadvertent  mispronunciations, like Bumpa or Grum, creating a whole new name that often sticks.  Picking the perfect name doesn’t have to be stressful and can actually be fun. You can try out many different options from formal to trendy or traditional to wacky.

More: 12 Great Activities for Grandparents and Grandchildren

Rutger Bruining, FamilyEducation’s Family History and Heritage Expert and CEO of StoryTerrace, gives us a little insight into family history with names for grandparents.  He says, “Having documented the stories of countless grandparents through StoryTerrace, one thing we have learned is that nicknames for grandparents often stem from events or things that happened in their past. The interesting thing is that many people never realize this because they don’t know their grandparents' history before they were parents or grandparents. The names and stories behind them are as varied as every family. Each and every one of these unique names we give our grandparents will have a story behind it which adds to its importance to every family. Discussing this is a great way to connect with family members and understand more about their lives.”

Below you will find a list of 25 alternative names for Grandma and Grandpa, a mix of many different backgrounds and formality. Some come in pairs, but that doesn’t mean that they need to, feel free to mix and match based on what feels right. You never know what will stick!

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  • Nana and Papa - An alternative commonly used in the United States, Nana in particular is one of the most popular nicknames for Grandma.
  • Abuela and Abuelo - Spanish for grandmother and grandfather, these are popular alternative names for grandparents with Spanish heritage or family traditions.
  • Gram - An alternative for Grandma that feels a little less formal and stuffy. For grandmothers looking for something a little less grand, Gram is a great choice.
  • MeMaw and PePaw - These alternatives to Grandma and Grandpa are most popular in Southern states. They can be used for grandparents or great-grandparents and are a special term of endearment.
  • Nan - Of British origin, Nan is short for Nanny or Nana, all popular alternatives to grandmother. This is a great choice for families with European ties or British family history, and is short and sweet making it easy for little grandchildren to pronounce.
  • Nonna and Nonno - Italian names for grandparents, Nonna and Nonno are great alternatives if you have an Italian family or Italian traditions.
  • Oma and Opa - A less formal German translation for grandparents, Oma and Opa are affectionate alternatives to Grandma and Grandpa.
  • Grammie/Grammy - This is the perfect child-friendly alternative to Grandma that many young children gravitate towards. Some children may even switch Grandma to Grammie on their own.
  • Gramps - This is an informal alternative to Grandpa that is perfect for little grandchildren. Similar to Gram, it feels a little less grand than grandfather or Grandpa, and many grandparents prefer the less formal softer name.
  • Pa - Shortened from Papa, Pa is a classic older alternative to Grandpa, and is an easy name for very young children to pronounce.
  • Granddaddy - Typically heard in the South, Granddaddy is a more informal alternative to Granddad, even more informal than Grandpa.
  • Pap - Pappy is a nickname for father, making Grandpappy, Grandpap, and then an even more abbreviated version, Pap, an easy alternative to Grandpa.
  • Pop-Pop - Considered slang, Pop-Pop is a very informal alternative for Grandpa.
  • GiGi - Gigi is easy to pronounce and a much more modern alternative to Grandma that many younger grandmothers may prefer to be called.
  • YaYa - A popular Greek nickname for Grandma, YaYa or YaiYai are easy for young children to pronounce and hold special meaning for families with Greek heritage.
  • Baba - Persian for Grandpa, Baba could easily be a grandchild’s first word, making it even that much more special.
  • MiMi - Popular amongst grandmother’s who feel that Grandma is too old and stuffy, Mimi is a younger more modern alternative.
  • Grumps - Certainly less formal than Grandpa, a lovingly adoration for a grumpy old man, Grumps is a cute child nickname for Grandpa.
  • Mémère and Pépère - Of French origin, and more specifically French Canadian, these are more formal alternatives to Grandma and Grandpa but a perfect way to honor your family heritage.

Interested in family history and genealogy? Check out our Family History and Genealogy Center for more interesting reads and fun ideas.