Lifestyle

Not feeling the Granny vibe? 20 fun names for grandparents

Does being called Granny or Grandpa make you feel more ancient than the Rosetta Stone? Channel your inner Betty White with these fun and quirky alternatives.

By Sabrina Rogers-Anderson

Did you know the Golden Girls and the Sex and the City reboot’s characters were all meant to be in their mid-50s when the respective shows aired? 

Yet the first group of women were portrayed as poodle-haired old ladies while Sarah Jessica Parker and co were stiletto-rocking powerhouses.

It’s official: getting older no longer equates to losing your edge and fading into obscurity.

So, as a grandparent, you deserve to have a name that’s as cool as you are and that will make your chest puff out with pride when your grandkids holler it across the playground.

That said, there are a few rules to follow when choosing your moniker to avoid ruffling any feathers. 

Here are some funky grandparent names to inspire you and a few pointers to help you make the right choice.

Fun and modern names for grandmothers

  • Gigi or GG: This is sometimes used for great-grandmothers, but nothing is stopping you from snapping it up.
  • G-Ma: This grandma could be the frontwoman for a rap group and we’re here for it.
  • Gan Gan: Prince Harry called his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, Gan Gan. You can’t get any more regal than this! 
  • Gam Gam: A more commonly used version of the previous entry.
  • Glamma: If you’re a glamorous grandma, this is the name for you.
  • Mimi: Mimi is super cute and a departure from the hard “G” sound.
  • Lola: Filipino grandmothers are known as Lola and we love it so much.
  • Coco: What’s not to love about this warm and comforting moniker?
  • Gaga: This might not be everyone’s taste, but Lady Gaga has certainly elevated it to a new level of cool.
  • Lovey: The matriarch of the Kardashian clan, Kris Jenner, coined this for herself because she didn’t like her original name - Grandma. 
“My mum is Glamma. My nanna was still with us when the kids were born, so Nanna wasn’t right. Also, I thought my mum was far too glamorous, so Glamma it is!” -Ruth

"My mother is still with us and she’s Nan, so I didn't want to also be a Nan or Nanna. Plus, it made me feel old to be called that. Same with grandma - I hated that. So, I came up with Meio, which is pronounced ‘Mee-oh’, and adapted from the Gaelic word for grandparent, Maimeó.” -Kathy

Fun and modern names for grandfathers

  • Grandpop: We love this fresh take on the classic Grandpa.
  • Gramps: Gramps would suit a laid-back grandfather who doesn’t take himself too seriously.
  • Pop-pop: Is it just us or does this name, well, pop? It’s a sweet alternative to Poppy, and if it’s good enough for Alice Cooper, it’s good enough for us.
  • G-Pa: Why should grandmas get all the street cred? This is what Lionel Richie’s grandkids call him.
  • Lolo: The Filipino term for grandfather pairs perfectly with Lola.
  • Pappy: A mish-mash of Pa and Poppy, Pappy is a winner.
  • Opa: The German nickname for grandfather is adorable and can be paired with Oma for grandma.
  • Grumpy: Perfect for the grandfather who’s known for grumbling and groaning.
  • Momo: Mimi and Momo are a match made in heaven. 
  • Grandude: This is a bold choice, but we love it to bits!
“My dad is Boompah. It was inherited from my mum’s dad. He was named Boompah after an old 1950s film where a Dennis the Menace type of character tormented his ‘Opa’ with his special name of Boompah. My eldest cousin decided this should be my dad’s name!” - Sam
“My dad is known as Grumpy. It’s definitely self-explanatory! He was always grumpy, so we started referring to him as that instead of Poppy and it just stuck.” - Brittney
“Granels is what I called my granddad.” -Jacqui

Tips for choosing a grandparent name

Make it personal

Not connecting with any of the names on this list? Make up your own based on your nickname or let the parents throw around some options.

“The name Ninnie came from my niece and nephew not being able to say ‘Lynnie’ as my family called me. Being small, ‘L’ is hard to pronounce, so they pronounced it Ninnie and the name stuck. When I was asked what I’d like to be called when my first grandchild was born, Ninnie came to mind immediately. Hearing a small child call me Ninnie is just the cutest.” - Lyn
“My son has a GanGan, Grumpa, Dad Too, Poppy Chew and Nanma! There’s a story behind each name.” - Mel

Consider your culture

There’s nothing more special than choosing a name that’s a nod to your cultural heritage.

“My mum is Italian, so she’s Nonna. I hear it all day long from my toddler! Whenever the phone rings, we get in the car or he wakes up from his nap, it’s ‘NONNA!’ He pronounces it perfectly too.” -Brittney
“My kids call my dad Pappy. He’s Scottish and loves his baps, which are bread rolls, so we took that and used the ‘P’ from Poppy to call him Paps, which turned into Pappy. The kids also call my partner’s mum Namma, which is roughly a Swedish equivalent of Nanny.” - Melissa

Clear it with the parents

Before announcing that you want to be known as Mama Bear and Big Dawg, ask the parents what they think.

They may not like names that are too similar to what they want their children to call them. For example, Mammy may be a no-go if the mother will be known as Mummy.

The parents might also point out that some choices will be too hard for small children to pronounce (such as the French Grand-mère) or find others downright embarrassing (Grampsicle, anyone?).

Consider the other grandparents

Find out if the other sets of grandparents in your grandkids’ lives already have special sobriquets. 

If your daughter-in-law’s parents have been known as Nanny and Pops for years because they have other grandchildren, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.

Go traditional

After careful consideration, you may realise you prefer more traditional grandparent names. Here are a few to choose from:

  • Nan and Granddad
  • Nanna and Pop
  • Grandma and Grandpa
  • Gran and Poppy
  • Granny and Grampy

Let your grandkids choose

Is there anything cuter than a small child coming up with a meaningful name for you?

“My son is named after my father, Robert. When he was little, our son decided he was normal-sized and anyone else was big. So, he was Robert and my dad is Big Robert. Ironically, my son will probably end up taller, so it’ll be funny to hear the shorter one being called 'big'.” - Sheryl
“My dad is called Ba because, when the grandchildren visited, he would take them to the local school which had pet sheep!” - Angus

Let it go

If your first choice was nixed or your grandkids decide you must be called Toots and Gong Gong, try to let it go and accept your new identity. 

The sweet hugs and sloppy kisses will (hopefully) make it all worthwhile.

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