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Having Fun with Grandma Names in Different Languages

By Margaret Manning March 26, 2021 Family

If you’re a grandmother, what do your grandchildren call you? “Grandma?” “Nana?” “Mammy?” Some women over 60 feel strange being called “Grandma” or other titles because it reminds them of their own grandmothers, who were much “older” women than we are now.

Being called “Grandma” also brings up interesting feelings that remind us of our shifting roles, our changing identity, and time passing. Just like so many other aspects of life for women over 60, the concept of being a grandmother is changing. Maybe the word “Grandma” is changing as well.

Grandma Names Are Changing with Time

What’s in a name? It might seem like a small concern, but the word “grandmother” sounds ill-suited to many women over 60 today, who are more individualistic and independent than they used to be.

Today’s grandmothers often feel that traditional names sound too “old” and that they don’t want to sound like a stereotypical grandparent from past generations who led a quiet life. Many of today’s grandmothers don’t want to be defined solely as a grandmother; we still are doing many other things in life, in addition to building strong relationships with our grandchildren.

Would you like to embrace a new “job title” as a grandmother? Perhaps you can find some inspiration from different languages. Many different countries and cultures have their own unique names for “grandmother,” and perhaps some of these global ideas can give you a new appreciation for your life as “Grandma” or “Nana” or “Meema” or whatever you like.

Here are some ideas on how to find the right “grandmother name” for you:

Choose a Different Traditional Name

Even if you want a traditional name, you’re not limited to “Grandma” or “Granny” – why not think about a different grandmother name? Here are a few to think about which might stimulate some ideas:

  • Gammi, Gammy, Gami
  • Grammie, Grammy
  • Grams
  • Mammy, Mamie
  • Mimi
  • MeMa, Meema, Memaw
  • Nan, Nana, Nanna
  • Ona, Onna

Adopt an Ethnic Name

Want a cool new trendy name? Consider looking for inspiration from other languages and countries. For example, this article has a list of ethnic grandmother names like Oma (German), YaYa (Greek), or Savta (Hebrew).

Maybe you have a connection to some of these names through your own family history (even if you no longer speak those languages), or maybe you have a favorite country that you love to travel to – or if you’re learning a foreign language, using that language’s grandmother name could be a fun way to share the language with your grandchildren.

Even if some families are not highly cultural or religious, they may choose names that honor their culture or heritage. Or they choose them just to be different from the more common names. Some cultures see their specific names for grandparents as a mark of respect, and to call them anything else is disrespectful.

Here are a few popular grandmother names from different countries and languages – see if any of these are inspiring to you.

  • Chinese: NaiNai
  • Filipino: Lola
  • Flemish: Bomma
  • French Canadian: Mémé
  • Italian: Nonna
  • Spanish: Abuela
  • Yiddish: Bubbe

Whatever name you go by, being a grandmother is one of the great joys of life for many women over 60. I hope that you’ll find this to be true in your life as well!

Take a Grandma Names Quiz

This site has a fun quiz on “which grandmother name is right for you,” which might give you some ideas. You can go through a list of questions that assess your personality, style, and favorite things to do, and as a result, you’ll see which grandmother name you should actually be using.

What do you think? Would you like to be called “Grandma” or does it sound too “old” for you? Are there any other traditional or ethnic grandma names that appeal to you? Please let us know in the comments.

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I didn’t want to be called grandma either, so I’m Lolli and my husband pop


I did not want to be called GRANDMA! just sounds old and boring…😔

So I picked “Coco”! I think it sounds kind of hip…lol
It’s easy to say! Easy to spell! Not many kids yell out Coco in a store, so I know they are belong to me! Lol

Love them all to bits! ❤

The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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