Please Send An Endearing Term for Grandma and Grandpa in Your Language

Kathy wrote me…

Dear Mamalisa,

I was delighted to find your website and will be using it in the future. I am researching translations for the word “grandma” in various languages. I am most interested in the familiar, sweet terms children might call this individual. I am aware that in some cultures this would be a different word for the mother or the father’s side of the family. I have spent hours on Internet, through many websites as well as your website and links. I have thus found: Cajun, Hawaiian, Ukrainian, Italian, Scottish, Irish, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Farsi. I am not clear about Russian or Greek since I am not completely sure of their letters. Now I am certainly not expecting you to do hours of research for my project. But I thought you might be familiar with an easier way for me to accomplish my task.

For example, I happened on a page called “I Love You” in Various Languages and found 18 pages for “I love you”. Wow! Anyway, whatever help you can give me would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.


If anyone knows any endearing terms for “grandma” and “grandpa”, including any in those languages listed, please comment below.



This article was posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2006 at 10:25 am and is filed under Cantonese, China, Countries & Cultures, France, French, German, Germany, Grandma, Grandpa, Greece, Greek, Hawaii, Hawaiian, Hong Kong, Hungarian, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Japanese, Languages, N. Ireland, Occitan, Occitan, Poland, Polish, Portugal, Portuguese, Questions, Scotland, Scottish, Spanish, Sweden, Swedish, Words & Phrases, Yiddish. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

241 Responses to “Please Send An Endearing Term for Grandma and Grandpa in Your Language”

  1. Crystal Says:

    Miy Miy is what my grand babies call me, their grandma! And I love it!

  2. Maatakiri Te Ruki Says:

    Charlie Says:
    July 25th, 2010 at 10:31 pm
    koro …….pronounced kaw/raw (the r is rolled like a scottish person pronouncing it)…. is the maori name used for granparents…both male and female.

    tēnā koutou, ngā mihi ki a koutou katoa e kimihia i ngā ingoa pai mō ā tātou tūpuna. hello to everyone, acknowledgements to you all for looking into names for our ancestors, specifically grandmother and grandfather. Just saw Charles comment about KORO being used for both male and female and well to my knowledge that is incorrect. In Aotearoa/New Zealand; we have kuia for an elderly female; and kaumatua or koroua for an elderly male. However, there are dialectal differences as well; in our tribal area (west cost of North Island) we identify our grandparents as ‘tauheke or koroheke’. We call our grandmothers “Kui” “Kuia” Kuikui” and our grandfathers “Koro” “Koko” or “Pa” . Growing up in my whānau/family so that we could “identify” which grandparent was which; we called our fathers’ parents Nana North (because she came from the Far North) and Nana Pā. We called our mum’s parents Grans and Granddad. Hope the info helps. :)

  3. Tatjana Says:

    In Serbian, Grandfather is deda and Grandmother is baba. Endearing names would be deka for Grandpa and baka for Grandma. Grandma is sometimes called nana, as well.

  4. Galateea Says:

    I saw that two other people posted about how you can say grandmother and grandfather in Romanian, but still, I’d like to add some things. First, Romanian is a language where you pronounce each word as it is written; to make a difference compared to, let’s say, English, the word ‘boom’ is pronounced in Romanian the same as in English, but we write it “Bum” (for the record any type of written ‘o’ are pronounced like the ‘o’ from ‘old’. But i saw that somebody already explained the pronunciation somewhere above, so I’ll skip it. And now, back to business. Grandmother is “bunică”, or “bunicuță” as the hypocorism. Also a less used term “mamaie”, usually only used in the countryside but not necessarily ( i was raised near the capital and still only used this one because it seemed to me like it was a more affectionate word than the other one and made me feel closer to her (my parents worked a lot so i lived with my grandparents). Grandfather is “bunic”, or “bunicuț” as a hypocorism and “tataie” with the same rule as above. Some even use “buni” to call both their grandmother and their grandfather. And together, grandparents are called “bunici”. What’s interesting is that both words are derived from the adjective ‘bun’ which means ‘good’ or ‘kind’ (>w<)

  5. maricel Says:

    filipino words for grandma is lola and grandfather is lolo

  6. Missie Says:

    Does anyone know if the name ‘Nomi’ is a name used from a country for grandmother.

  7. Lisa Says:

    Here’s one from Urban Dictionary:

    glam ma

    The new generation of grandmas, who are stylish in the way they live and dress. These women do not fit the typical cardigan – wearing, permed hair granny stereotype, they are glamorous.

    You don’t have a grandma, you have a glam ma.

  8. Denise Says:

    I would love to hear these Irish words for grandmother spoken, so as to hear the correct sounds. Gaelic is like an Asian language, it’s not always phoneticilly spelled.

    (These were found on other sites)
    Maimeó, máthair mhór, máthair Chríona (MAW her KHREE un na),

    (This won’t be 100% but it’s a start on how to pronounce the letters in this particular case:

    ’s’ is like the English ’sh’
    ‘ea’ is like the English ‘a’ in ‘far’
    ‘n’ is like the English ‘n’
    ‘mh’ is like the English ‘w’
    ‘á’ is like the ‘a’ in the Kaw river, or the English ‘awe’
    ‘th’ is like the English ‘h’ in ‘Harry’
    ‘air’ is like the English ‘er’) (Found on another site)

    There is some question if Móraí (moree) is even Gaelic, yet some one used it as Gaelic, in the reading I’ve been doing.

    Also in trying to find these in translation sites that have “voice” it often says obsolete. Which is a huge assumption when using names for grandparents etc. as one can see by the entries here. What is obsolete today could be the trend tomorrow, at least for that family.

    I would especially like to hear Morai and máthair Chríona as those are the ones I think I will consider using. Even though I found their phonetic spelling I’d like to hear them spoken.

    I think I read that máthair Chríona means, mother of the heart, is this true?

    Thank you for such an interesting site. I have learned so much and hope I have a grand variety of ethnic Grand children. I love so many of the Grand-names.My family is Scots-Irish, my first grandson is Mexican. Unfortunately for me his Mexican Grandmother is already Abuela. I hope I find a comforting Grand name soon as my Grandson will soon be talking and I cringe at Grandma.

  9. kandre Says:

    i like jan’s idea of jamma. for jan+gramma. that would make me kamma. nice. Noni is nice too. hmmm. fun thinking of what i might soon be as we wait to greet our first grand babies!

  10. Mardiana Says:

    In malay.. grandmother is called.. nenek, nyai (Javanese) atok, and for grandfather is called.. datok, yayei (javanese)…There a lot more.. it depends from which dialect group.

  11. jack Says:

    Bajo. I saw it on some website as the gypsy word for grandfather, but have been unable to verify it anywhere. Daughter love it when I told her I’d be the Bajo of her newborn son, so now I am Bajo ( it grows on u, and I’m the only Bajo I know of

  12. Teresa Says:

    My two-year-old grandson who just turned two in January all of a sudden started calling me and his paternal grandmother Matka. We have no idea where he got that from. No one has ever use that word. My daughter looked up that word on the Internet and found that in a couple languages it means mother. We are not of Polish or Czechoslovakian descent. We just find it very strange that he came up with this word on his own.

  13. Carol Says:

    My grandchildren call me BaBa, I believe that this is Russian Ukranian. My mother was Big Baba. My husband wanted to be called Grandpa. Some how my grand daughter only could say it YaYa so that was it has been for the last 10 years. I also have a friend whose grandchildren call her Deary

  14. Tsitsa Dunton Says:

    Elisi is grandmother in Cherokee.
    Eduda is grandfather.
    We do not use terms of endearment when speaking because just to say Elisi or Eduda is a thing of greatest honor and respect all ready for they are our elders.

  15. Gypsy Says:

    I’m of mostly eastern European descent on my mother’s side, and fondly knew my grandmother as babushka or baba throughout my childhood… or baba yaga if she was in a bad mood (quietly, out of earshot…) LOL

  16. Lisa Says:


  17. Anony Says:

    Just FYI, Memme comes from Friesland, North Netherlands… it means mother. Friese is the closest relative to English. Where English say “mum”, Friesians say “mem” – and americans say “mom”.

    Perhaps your husband is Friesian. Look for surnames ending with “ma”!

  18. Kelly Crane Says:

    I am from East Texas, our terms for Grandmother is Granny and we called our Grandfather papa pronounced as pãe-paw. I know my grandfathers family migrated from the Carolina and Virginia areas. My Granny’s Heritage is from Oklahoma and Cherokee. My stepbrothers called their mothers mom Memaw or Meme

  19. Words for Mama and Papa are Similar around the World Says:

    […] of these terms mean grandmother (like nana in English).  Check out words for grandmothers around the world to learn […]

  20. sikeureteu Says:

    In the PHILIPPINES, we call our parents in many ways.
    mother = nanay, mommy, mama
    father = tatay, daddy, papa

  21. Deb Says:

    Me’me. It sounds like the letter e in elephant. And the second e sounds like an a. From Me mere. French

  22. rachel Says:

    I have an aunt whos great grandchildren call her GG for great gran. When my oldest was 2 a family friend told him to say hello to anna the spanner, and pointed to my mam, it came out as annapanna. It stuck. When i had my other children they followed. I know its not another language but my mother loved it and wouldnt answer to grandma anymore

  23. Fiona Says:

    In Wales, we have:
    For Grandma:
    “Mam”, “Mamgu” pronounced Mamgee, and “Nain” pronounced nine

    For Grandad we have:
    “Tad”, “Tadcu” pronounced Tad-key and “Taid” pronounced tide.

  24. Fiona Says:

    Op and I forgot “Bampi” for grandfather

  25. Mokihana Says:

    I’m from Hawaiʻi, and my grandmother is tūtū and my grandfather is tūtū kane.

  26. Gypsy Soul Says:

    We called my Ukrainian grandparents, Baba & JaJa. Is Jaja grandpa in Austrian?

    Thank you,
    Kathy :-)

  27. Gypsy Soul Says:

    Love this website.

  28. Ryan Christensen Says:

    In Denmark grandma and grandpa has different meaning depending on your grandmas siblings and whose youngest to oldest to have kids. Youngest kid to get married and have kids there kids call grandma and grandpa bestamor and best afar. The middle child’s kids call there grandparents farmor and Far far. And the oldest kids children call there grandparents morfa and mor mor. It was always strange that my cousin never called m y grandparents the same as me it was weird. But that’s Danish.

  29. Lisa Says:

    That’s interesting Ryan! Thanks for sharing that info.

  30. Melinda Says:

    Hello everyone! I’m not sure if this thread was put up yesterday or in 2010! I wasn’t paying attention. Anyway, here is how you say Grandma and Grandpa in Moroccan.**

    Grandma: muima (Mm-wee-mah)

    Grandpa: Bisidi (Beh-see-dee)

    **Note: Like many countries around the world there are various dialects of each language spoken in Morocco. The official language is a form of Arabic called Darija (Da-Ree-jah). These languages are also spoken there: French, Spanish (from Spain), and the different types of Berber languages.
    The dialect depends on what group one is from. The two main ones are Amazingh and Riff. There are a variety of smaller branches of each of those groups.

    As much as I would love to tell everyone how to say Grandma and Grandpa in all the languages of Morocco….I can’t!

    Here is to opening up our mind to different languages! By doing this we are able to understand them and discover just how beautiful each and every person on earth is. We only fear what we cannot understand. Fear causes hate; hate, in turn, cases conflict; conflict results in nothing good. We need to just open up our minds and open our hearts. This way we can have the world the way it should have always been….at peace!! Blessings and smarts to one and all!

  31. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for writing Melinda! Lovely thoughts. :)

  32. Sabrina Says:

    My daughter refers to her maternal grandmother as Lela (short for abuela) and her maternal grandfather as Lolo (short for abuelo) My own grandmother, her great grandmother is called Lelita (Abuelita –little grandmother, an endearment)

    We come from Paraguay where we nationally speak bilingually, Spanish and Guarani. In Guarani grandmother would be Jaryi –jah-roo-ee (is how to best sound it out i think) I don’t know what grandfather is.

  33. NM Says:

    Meekulu – grandma – Oshikwanyama
    Tatekulu – grandpa –

  34. NM Says:

    Oshikwanyama (Namibian language) Meekulu (grandma) Tatekulu (grandpa)

  35. KayZee Says:

    Here’s one I’m sure you’ve never heard…our son called my mother “Mom-rat” and my husband’s mother “Dad-rat”. (He never knew his grandfathers.) He knew my mother was related to “mom” and my mother-in-law was related to “dad” and he couldn’t pronounce “grand”, substituting “rat”!

  36. Gertrud Steadham Says:

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  37. Sandra Roark Says:

    We live in Texas on the Gulf Coast. My Grandchildren call me Hummy, because that is how the oldest pronounced Honey, a Southern/Texan term of endearment. My husband goes by PawPaw. Their other Grandparents are Gram and Pop and Gran-E and Pop-E (their last name is Elsesser) My mother’s name is LaVerl and my kids called her MamaVerl. All of her great grandkids call her MamaGirl, because MamaVerl is hard to say when you are one. We think it’s adorable! My dad was called Big John. I called him that when I was a toddler in 1960 after Jimmy Dean’s hit Big Bad John. Even though I got in trouble for calling him that at the time, he secretly thought it was cute and insisted that all his grandkids call him Big John 💗 I think most Grandparents in our area choose names as diverse and unique as our society has become. Most of them are variants of traditional names with a twist to make them more personal.

  38. Bea Says:

    In Italian:

    Grandma = Nonna
    Grandpa = Nonno
    Grandparents = Nonni

  39. Michelle Brackin Says:

    I come from Dutch heritage and I am a Beekeeper so I chose Beminde meaning- sweet,beloved, honey. (Bee Min ed)
    I can say it to my granddaughter and her to me.

  40. Terry Says:

    My wife’s grandsons call her Poppy, which is what she called her (maternal) grandmother.
    [I am the step-dad to my wife’s 2 girls].
    MY granddaughters call their grandparents (my daughter-in-laws parents) Bubba and Nana.
    I’m just Grandpa all the way around.

  41. Shawna Michele Says:

    I have many grandparents or family with all different names , my mother’s mom I called Nanny, my mom is Nona, my aunt and uncle are Pauka and Bepa their Dutch also Oma and Opa, my dad was Papa, My friend calls her Grandma Bunny, not sure why, the others are normal known names, nana gram, etc. I think my kids like Grumpy and memaw for my husband and I. I told my daughter her kids can’t call me Crazy that’s not a real name for grandparents.

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