When it comes to terms of endearment for a grandma, there aren’t any rules.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Trendy or Modern Grandmother Names
- Cute Grandmother Names
- Step-Grandmother Names
- Fun or Funny Grandmother Names
- Southern Grandmother Names
Sometimes grandmas try to choose how their grandkids will refer to them. But you don’t always get to choose. When a chubby-cheeked toddler calls you “Nana,” your preference for “Gram” will fly right out the window. And if the name you pick is too difficult to pronounce, you might end up with a funny version of it.
Different grandchildren may give you different honorary titles as well. Your grandchildren from your son may refer to you as GG, while your daughter’s children may call you Grandma. Chances are, you’ll answer to either name.
Here are some unique names to consider if you are attempting to choose your term of endearment. Just remember, like any nickname, sometimes it takes, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Tip: Unfortunately, grandmas can't live forever. If you find yourself coping with the loss of your grandmother or any other loved one, our post-loss checklist can help you through the process.
Trendy or Modern Grandmother Names
The term “grandma” might remind you of a curly-haired old woman who wore sensible shoes and always smelled of Bengay and Vicks Vapor Rub. Perhaps your nickname preference is based on your dislike of that idea. Although you remember your past family members as being wonderful, kind people you might not be ready to be like them.
Since you are a more modern, trendy grandma, you deserve a more up-to-date name. Here are some ideas.
We like the name “glamma” because it’s a combination of “grandma” and “glamour.” Who wouldn’t want to be remembered as a glamorous grandma?
In Russian, “baba” refers to a grandmother. Choosing this term of endearment would be a downright genius decision. What’s easier to say than “ma” or “da?” With a name like “baba,” your grandchild may use your name before they refer to their parents.
Be the hippest grandma on the block when your grandchildren refer to you as “gaga.” You’ll forever be associated with Lady Gaga, and let’s be honest who doesn’t want that? And you will have the added benefit of making a cultural reference every time you call your grandchildren “little monsters.”
We know that Coco Channel died back in the 1970s, but her name still has the aura of class and sophistication.
Coco would make a fantastic nickname for a stylish grandma. And it’s easy for babies and toddlers just learning to talk to pronounce.
We love British-sounding nicknames. Whether you are a fan of “The Crown” or not, this nickname is cute! You’ll love hearing your grandchildren refer to you with this old-school, but somehow-trendy nickname. This would be the perfect nickname for your grandchildren Beatrice or Harry to use.
Cute Grandmother Names
Cute grandmothers deserve cutesy-sounding nicknames. If that’s your style -- embrace it. Here are some cute grandmother names you could choose.
There’s nothing new about the nickname “grammy.” But, arguably, it is a standard term of endearment for any grandmother.
With a name like “grammie,” expectations are high. Be prepared to always have warm cookies ready for your grandkids when they visit!
This is traditionally a Greek nickname for a “grandma.” But it's definitely cute enough for anyone to use.
Some grandmothers prefer everyone to use the same nickname for them. Something that their husbands and their grandchildren can both call them makes things easier.
Snooks is an example of a nickname that could be used by multiple family members. We also think “sweets” works well for this kind of nickname.
You may be able to choose a name that relates to your first name. If your first name is “Nancy,” why not ask your grandchildren to call you “nanny?” There are lots of variations on this idea. Depending on your name, you should be able to come up with a simplified version for your grandkids.
Whether you think of a mouse with a red bow or a diminutive person, Minnie is a cute name for a cute grandma. But if you pick this nickname be prepared to receive Minnie Mouse-themed gifts for the rest of your life.
Just because you aren’t related by blood doesn’t mean you aren’t a grandma. If you’ve been part of their life for a while, you probably have an important relationship with your step-grandchildren. But you might be sharing the grandma job with a few people.
If your step-grandchildren have other grandmas, pick a unique name to stand out from the crowd.
Also try to be considerate of the other grandmas when you choose a nickname. Try to take into account how long you have been a member of the family.
If you’ve only been in the picture for a little while you may encounter some resentment around your choice. Especially if you select a too familiar term of endearments like “grammy” or “grams.” Here are some options to consider.
11. Grandma “first name”
Why not ask your step-grandchild to refer to you as “Grandma” paired with your first name? To help distinguish you from the group of grandmas this is a perfect choice.
And if you are worried about hurt feelings or stepping on toes, this option may make everyone feel a bit more comfortable. It’s respectful but brings you into the family.
Mimi would be a great term of endearment for a step-grandmother. It still sounds grandmotherly, but it is not a traditional name.
This easy-to-say name might be a good compromise for a step-grandmother. Again, it sounds grandmotherly, but it wouldn’t step on the toes of the “blood” grandmother.
There are a lot of relationships to explain to a grandchild. To help your step-grandchild to understand the relationship of the sea of relatives, why not find a name that matches your husband’s?
If your husband is “papa,” you can be “pippy.” That way, the two of you will always be a unit to the grandchildren.
“Shug” (like the first syllable of sugar), could be an appropriate nickname for step-grandma. After all, it has an S and G in the name, the same as step-grandma does. Spell it however you want, there is no right way.
Fun or Funny Grandmother Names
The most fun grandma names are the ones chosen by the child. They occur naturally, usually from mispronunciations of other words. Here are some funny grandma nicknames we have heard used.
Good news, the possibilities in this category are endless. And it’s possible you end up with a funny nickname despite trying for something a bit more serious.
16. Big grandma/little grandma
If two grandmas go by the same name, a second descriptor to distinguish between them will help. And if you don’t decide your descriptor, be prepared for your grandchildren to pick one for you.
A larger, taller grandma may be referred to as “Big Grandma,” which is probably preferable to “Fat Grandma.” The descriptors that can be added are endless — “Country” and “city” grandma. “Close” and “far” grandma. “Butterscotch” grandma and “gum” grandma.
If you don’t choose a nickname, you may earn one that you don’t want. So why not try out a few you like? That way you might find one that works before the one you don’t like sticks.
17. Pumpkin pie
Why is it that many terms of endearment refer to sweet treats or dessert items? When you think of it, “pumpkin” or “pumpkin pie” is a funny nickname for anyone. But somehow, it sounds better to call someone “pumpkin” rather than “squash” or “zucchini.”
Perhaps you have a grandma who likes to be treated like a queen. Queenie may be a nickname you use to her face or a not-so-nice name you call her behind her back. But if you’re the queen of your castle, take ownership of the name!
This funny name may be appropriate for a grandma who is well on in years. Creaker may refer to how she speaks or the noise that you hear when she moves.
Sometimes nicknames are given to people based on common phrases they may use. If your grandma says “toodles” every time she leaves, this might be a fun term of endearment for her.
Southern Grandmother Names
Anyone who loves southern literature has run across some unique nicknames while reading. Here are some to consider if you live in the south, or if you just like the way these sound.
There are several spelling variations of Meemaw. This term seems to have been prevalent in the American south for quite a while. This can be easily paired with “pa-paw.”
Bunny isn’t always just a nickname for a grandma. It could be an example of a nickname that is used by grandkids and friends alike.
Of course, in the south, you would say this nickname without the final “r” sound. For example: “could I get some more shuga’ in my tea, shuga?” This nickname is also commonly used by grandma when they talk to their grandkids.
24. Big mama
A “big mama” doesn’t have to be a large woman, but a “big mama” is undoubtedly the matriarch of the family. With a name like “big mama”, you know that you are in charge.
The granny in Beverly Hillbillies is well-known for her crazy antics. She was a gun-toting, firecracker-cracker grandma who loved her family. Granny was hesitant to leave the south. So much so, she ended up tied her to her rocking chair in the back of the family truck when they moved to California. If you’re a true southern belle, maybe this nickname is for you.
Find the Perfect Name
No matter what name you choose, your job as a grandma is an important one. You set the tone of the family. You are the glue that holds your family together. You are the keeper of the traditions and the teller of stories. More than likely, you are the one who organizes the family photos and updates the family tree.
Your family will be lost without you. That’s why you should try to complete your end-of-life planning before you think you’ll need it. Don’t add to their grief by making your loved ones make all the funeral arrangements when your time comes.
As the grandma in the family, you get things done. Don’t leave this critical task to your sons, daughters, or grandchildren. Let them focus on celebrating you and everything you did for the family.