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Choosing Your Grandmother Name

Traditional or Modern, Chic or Ethnic


Modern grandmothers have a wide choice of grandmother names.

Grandmothers usually seek a name that fits their perceptions of themselves and their new roles.

Photo © Peter Augustin | Getty

Learning that one is to become a grandmother is one of those watershed moments in a woman’s life. Usually the grandmother-to-be begins to wonder almost immediately: What should I choose as my grandmother name?

Grandparent names can spark family conflict, so it is worth spending some time thinking about your choice. Fortunately, modern grandparents have many options.

Traditional Grandmother Names:

  • Big Mom
  • Gram
  • Gramma
  • Grammy
  • Grams
  • Grandma
  • Grandmama
  • Grandmom
  • Grandmother
  • Grannie
  • Ma or Maw
  • Mamo
  • MawMaw
  • Mema
  • Memaw
  • Mom-Mom
  • Nana
  • Nanny

Many children today have more than one grandmother. Indeed, through stepfamily relationships, some have half a dozen. For grandchildren who have more one grandmother, some families choose to add the given name or the last name to the grandparent name, arriving at combinations such as Gramma Jean or Grandma Brown. There is also a tendency among some modern grandparents to invent something that sounds perhaps younger or more hip than the traditional names. Indeed, the adoption of a cool grandmother name is something of a trend among baby boomer grandparents.

Modern Grandmother Names

  • BeBe
  • Bella
  • GiGi
  • G-Ma
  • G-Mom
  • Honey
  • Lovey
  • MayMay
  • Mia
  • Mimi
  • Nina

In addition, grandmothers may choose names favored by different nationalities or cultures, either because they reflect their heritage or simply because they like the way they sound. You don't have to be Italian to be a Nonna! Many of these names appear in several variations and spellings. Click on the links for more detailed information, sometimes including a link to an audio file.

Grandmother in Other Languages

Grandmothers should not become too attached to their chosen names. Just as having children once altered the landscape of your life, grandchildren will change it, too. And one of the things they just might change is your carefully selected grandmother name. Most grandmothers, however, embrace with joy whatever name comes from the lips of their grandchildren.

If you are still undecided about what grandmother name suits you, take this grandmother name quiz. You'll learn more about your grandmothering style and perhaps find just the perfect name! Consulting books about grandparent names is another strategy to consider.

See names for grandfathers or take the grandfather name quiz.

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