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Different Names for Grandma

By Emma Davies


Published on

Choosing the right name as a grandma is a crucial part of the whole process; this is what your grandchild/children will call you and refer to you as for decades and decades. Picking the perfect name can be challenging – what if nothing feels right for me? You don’t want to pick a nickname that’s going to do nothing but make you feel old!

Different Names for Grandma

We have many options for some unique grandma names, hopefully, one will really stick out to you.

How To Choose Names for Grandma

Popular Grandma Names from Around The World

Many grandmothers opt to use another language or culture for their grandma name. This is often linked to their family heritage but more often than not is just because they like the sound of it.

Some countries have more than one term for grandmother, this can be based on whether it is a maternal or paternal grandmother, formal or informal name. This can make it quite tricky to decipher which names are used by children as they may often be terms of endearment rather than a true grandma name.

But let’s give you a starting point to see if anything from these other languages and cultures strikes a chord with you.

  • Aborigine – There are 3 ways to say grandmother in Australia: Garrimay (formal); Mamaay (paternal); Momu (maternal). There is also the Polynesian Maori dialect version: Tipuna Wahine
  • African – Henna (Berber dialect); Nkuku (Botswanan); Ambuya (Shina dialect); Bibi or Nayanya (Swahili); Makhulu (Vena dialect); Umakhulu (Xhosa dialect); Ugogo (Zulu dialect).
  • Afrikaans – Ouma.
  • Albanian – Gjyshe.
  • American Indian – E-Ni-Si (Cherokee); Neske’e (Cheyenne); Aanaga (Eskimo or Inupiaq dialect); Nookmis or Nookomis (Ojibway). There are also two ways to say grandmother using the Navajo dialect: Ma’saani (maternal); Nali’ (paternal).
  • Arabic – There are both informal and formal ways to refer to your grandmother in Arabic: Jeddah or Jiddah (formal); Teta (informal).
  • Armenian – Tatik.
  • Basque – Amona.
  • Belarusian – Babka.
  • Breton – Mamm-gozh
  • Cajun – MawMaw.
  • Catalan – Avia or Iaia.
  • Chinese – NaiNai. There are paternal and maternal ways to say grandmother in Cantonese and Mandarin: Ngin (Cantonese paternal); PoPo (Cantonese maternal); Zumu (Mandarin paternal); Wai po (Mandarin maternal).
  • Croatian – Baka.
  • Danish – There are three ways to say grandmother in Danish: Bedstemoder (formal); Farmor (paternal); MorMor (maternal).
  • Dutch – Grootmoeder; Grootmama; Bomma.
  • Esperanto – Avin.
  • Estonion – Va naema.
  • Farsi – Madar Bozog.
  • Filipino & Cebuano – There are informal and formal ways to say grandmother: Apohang babae (formal); Lola (informal).
  • Finnish – Isoaiti; Mummo.
  • Flemish – Bomma.
  • French – There are formal, semiformal, and informal ways to say grandmother in French: Grand-mere (formal); Grandmaman (semiformal); Gra-mere or Meme (informal). ‘Meme’ is also used by French Canadians!
  • Galacian – Avoa.
  • Georgian – Bebia.
  • German – There are informal and formal ways in German: Grossmutter (formal); Oma (informal).
  • Greek – Yaya; Giagia.
  • Guarani & South American – Jaryi.
  • Hawaiian – In Hawaii, there are also informal and formal ways of saying grandmother: Kapuna Wahine (formal); Puna, TuTu, or KuKu (informal).
  • Hebrew – Savta; Safta.
  • Hungarian – Nagyanya (formal); Yanya or Anya (informal).
  • Icelandic – Amma; Yamma.
  • Indian – There are both maternal and paternal ways of saying grandmother in Bengali and Urdu: Thakur-ma (Bengali paternal); Dida or Didima (Bengali maternal); Daadi (Urdu paternal); Nanni (Urdu maternal). There are also different nicknames in Hindi and Southwestern parts of India: Daadima (Hindi); Ajii (Southwestern).
  • Indonesian – Nenek.
  • Irish and Gaelic – Seanmhair (formal); Maimeo, Morai, Mavoureen or Mhamo iinformal).
  • Italian – Nonna.
  • Japanese – Obaasan, Oba-Chan or Sobo (one’s own grandmother) (formal); Obaba (informal).
  • Korean – Halmoni or Halmeoni.
  • Latvian – Vecmate.
  • Lebanese – Sitti.
  • Lithuanian – Senele or Mociute.
  • Malagasy – Nenibe.
  • Maltese – Nanna.
  • Maori – Kuia; Te Kuia.
  • Norwegian – Bestemor or Godmor. If you’re looking for maternal or paternal versions: Farmor (paternal); MorMor (maternal).
  • Polish – Babka or Babcia (formal); Jaja, Zsa-Zsa, Bush, Busha, Busia or Gigi (informal).
  • Portuguese – Avo; VoVo.
  • Romanian – Buncia.
  • Russian – Babushka.
  • Sanskrit – Pitaamahii (paternal); Maataamahii (maternal).
  • Serbian – Baba; Mica.
  • Slovakian – Babicka.
  • Slovenian – Stara Mama.
  • Somali – Ayeeyo.
  • Spanish – Abuela (formal); abuelita , Uelita, Tita, Abby, Abbi or Lita (informal).
  • Swahili – Bibi.
  • Swedish – FarMor (paternal); MorMor (maternal).
  • Swiss – Grossmami.
  • Syrian – Teta or Jadda.
  • Tamil – Pathi.
  • Thai – Ya (paternal); Yai (maternal).
  • Turkish – Buyuk Anne; Anneanne; Babanne.
  • Turkmen – Ene.
  • Ukrainian – Babusia (formal); Baba (informal).
  • Uzbek – Bibi.
  • Vietnamese – Danh ta (formal); Ba or Be gia (informal).
  • Welsh – There are different names for grandmother in the northern and southern parts of Wales: Mamgu (Southern); Naini or Nain (Northern).
  • Yiddish – Bubby; Bubbe (fun fact, this is what the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s grandkids called her!)

If none of the above are tickling your fancy, how about some of these picks:

  • Memaw – this is a very popular name in southern parts of the United States
  • Nanny
  • Baba – this term is used in many Slavic countries, it is given to the head of the matriarch of the family
  • Granny
  • Gram
  • Cha-Cha
  • Marmee – this was popularised in the classic novel Little Women
  • GoGo
  • LaLa
  • Geema
  • MooMaw
  • Granny Pie
  • Gam Gam
  • Mimzy
  • Lolli
  • Gram Cracker
  • Queen
  • G-Madre
  • Cookie
  • Lola
  • Lovey
  • Glamma
  • Gan Gan

Above are tens of unique and cultural nicknames for in-laws and parents of soon-to-be parents to choose from; at the end of the day it’s important that whatever you decide to be called by your grandkids fits you and feels right (that’s your nickname, wear it with pride!).

So whether you decide to go for a name from your country, religion, or decide to jazz it up and be called something outrageous and unique, this is a special nickname that you’ll have in life so choose wisely.