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Unique and alternative names for grandparents

Last updated 28th October 2022
4 min read

Grandparents smiling with granddaughter on beach

Unique and alternative names for grandparents can be hard to think of, and if you’re a new grandparent, choosing that all important name is a big decision. After all, it will be that you’re called for years to come!

Whether it’s your first grandchild or one of many, few feelings can compare to welcoming the latest member of your family into the world. But you may have been asking yourself, what will your new grandchild call you when they start talking? Will you be a Granny or a Nanny? Will you be known as Grandad or Grandpa? Do you have a family name you’d like to carry on, like a Nono or Papa or Abuelo?

With so many different names for grandparents, we’ve pulled together a list of some of the most unique and alternative names – from all across the world – as well as some of the most popular and traditional. Read on to find your perfect grandparent name.

Picking the grandparents’ name

Picking the perfect name doesn’t have to be stressful – if you don’t decide beforehand, names for grandparents will often come naturally. Some of the best examples come from nicknames that the grandchild invents themselves through mispronunciation.

You can also pick a grandparents’ name from traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, so make sure to look into your family history. You can choose a grandparents’ name based on your heritage or past events, which make it even more unique. Similarly, you don’t have to pick your grandmother and grandfather names to match – feel free to mix based on what feels right.

When choosing a name for grandparents, it's important that the word carries a meaning to you and your grandchild – perhaps from a funny moment you shared or a mispronunciation that just sticks? Whichever name you choose, it’ll be a symbol of the bond between you and your new grandchild.

Traditional names for grandparents

Even with a whole world of choices, there have always been popular names for grandparents that seem to stick over the generations. Everyone has heard someone talk about their Nan or mention a funny story about Grandad. But how many times have you heard someone speak about their Pop-Pop or Mammy?

There are plenty of traditional names that generations have used to refer to their grandparents, and listed below are 10 of the most prominent pairings. How many of these names for grandparents have you heard before?

  1. Grandma and Grandpa
  2. Grandmother and Grandfather
  3. Nan and Grandad
  4. Nana and Papa
  5. Granny and Grampy
  6. Gran and Pops
  7. Nanny and Grandaddy
  8. Gran-Gran and Pop-Pop
  9. Mema and Poppa
  10. Mammy and Grandpappy

Unique and alternative names for grandparents

Of course, it’s entirely possible that none of the traditional names feel quite right for the bond between you and your new grandchild. Maybe you feel too young to be a Granny just yet, or maybe you’d like a newer name to reflect being a grandparent in the modern world.

Listed below are 10 pairs of unique, alternative and very trendy names for grandparents to consider:

  1. Queen and King (many children’s stories involve kings and queens, so it can be fun for children to have their own heads of family to look up to)
  2. Momo and Ho-Ho
  3. Tootsie and Pumpa
  4. Mimi and Pappy
  5. Bits of your own personality can form a new name on their own (e.g. Funny Nanny and Grandpa Happy)
  6. Gummy and Guppy
  7. Grinny and Grinndy
  8. Moomoo and Pogo
  9. G-Mom and G-Dad
  10. A mix of a traditional name and your own can make it feel more personal and less formal (e.g. Nana Sue and Pop-Pop Joe)

Names for grandparents from different cultures

If a trendy or traditional grandparents’ name isn’t feeling quite right, then maybe look to your family’s culture as inspiration. Each country has its own names for grandparents, and using one of those to refer to yourself can help your new grandchild remain connected with their cultural heritage.

Alternatively, maybe there’s a country or culture near and dear to your heart that you’d like to share with your new grandchild – starting with your name. Listed below are 10 pairs of international names for grandparents:

  1. Spanish: Abuela and Abuelo
  2. Irish: Maimeó and Daideó (mam-o and dah-jo)
  3. German/Dutch: Oma and Opa
  4. French: Grand-mère and Grand-père
  5. Italian: Nonna and Nonno
  6. Japanese: Oba-chan and Ojiisan (o-bah-chan and o-gee-san)
  7. Aboriginal Australian: Momu and Guman
  8. Indian: Awa and Tata (ah-wah and tah-tah)
  9. Welsh: Nain and Taid
  10. Israeli: Savta and Saba (soft-tah and sah-bah)

Next steps to becoming a grandparent

So what alternative name for a grandparent will you choose? Whichever you pick should reflect the deep bond you and your grandchild are going to share, meaning it should be something unique to your relationship. After all, it’s how they’ll remember you for their whole lives!

Welcoming a new grandchild is an exciting next step for everyone in your family, and we’re here to help you prepare for this new adventure. Whether it's saving for your grandchild’s future or even finding out just what type of grandparent you are, we have the articles you need below:

The thoughts and opinions expressed in the page are those of the authors, intended to be informative, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SunLife. See our Terms of Use for more info.