Deciding what the new addition will call his/her grandparents is an exciting part of having every first child, but it can be a bit of a challenge, too. Not everyone is crazy about titles such as Granny and “Grandmother” is a bit too formal for most modern tastes. Plus, if the new family member is older and arrives as a result of a remarriage or adoption, the child might have some ideas and preferences, himself, especially if his or her natural grandmother is or was a vital part of his life. The good news is that choices abound. Here are creative grandma name alternatives to consider on your new journey!
Lots of people still love the traditional titles, from Grandma, Grandmaw, Grammaw, and Granmommie. Variations like MeMo, MeMaw, and MawMaw are still popular, as are Noni, Nonna, Nanna, and Grams. Folks who don’t want to drop the “grand” part might try Granna, Grandmama, or Granmom. G-ma and G are oft-used short forms, while Granny and Big Mama are long-standing Southern faves.
In the last couple of decades, grandmother titles have gotten a major refresh. Grandam, sometimes used as a contraction of “grande daame,” has seen an upswing in popularity as have GaGa, Grandy, Momsy, Mummers, and Granette. Fun titles that don’t clearly tie to the original term include Dodie, Lolly, Queenie, and Queen Bee, while repetitives like MomMom, GramGram, and DoDo are perfect fits for some.
Foreign terms have long been popular in the U.S. Many are familiar with Grande-mère and Grandmaman (French), Abuela and Tita (Spanish), Nonna (Italian), Oma (German), Bubbe (Yiddish), and YaYa (Greek). Lesser known options include Bibi (Swahili), Teta (Arabic), Grootmoeder (Dutch), Jadda (Syrian), Baba (Ukranian), Obaba (Japanese), Anya (Hungarian), TuTu (Hawaiian), Sitti (Lebanese), Savta (Hebrew), Zha-Zha (Polish), Nkuku (Botswanan). Several languages also use different words for maternal and paternal grandmothers, or to distinguish one’s own grandmother from grandmothers in general.
Of course, you can also combine a title with the grandmother’s first or last name, or can use a title that’s traditional in your family. Alternatively, you can look to the stars – the Hollywood variety, that is. Debbie Reynolds is Aba Daba to her grandkids, Goldie Hawn goes by Gogo and Glam-ma, Sharon Osbourne is Shazza, and Suzanne Sommers is Zannie.
If all else fails, let your child pick the name that makes most sense to them. Just be prepared for surprises. It took my family weeks to figure out where I came up with MéMé, pronounced “May-May,” which is the French familiar. Thank you Sesame Street.
Check out the results of our reader poll and share your name – or your grandmother’s – with us on social media!