grand‧moth‧er /ˈɡrænˌmʌðə $ -ər/ (grandma) ●●● S2 W2 noun [countable] the mother of your mother or father

Some other languages use different terms for grandma of your dad side & grandma of your mom side.

Ok, let see this situation, the grandma of my dad side & grandma of my mom side all came to my house. How would I call them / distinguish them through the titles?

  • I called my mother's parents Granny and Grandpa and my father's mother Grandma. If his father had still been alive I might have called him Grandad. This is NOT the same as saying that there are different words for maternal and paternal grandparents, but, because there are several different possible nicknames for grandparents, many British children use a different one for each side. Jan 30, 2020 at 10:12
  • In modern multicultural Australia the “traditional possibilities” I mentioned from my childhood have broadened to include other possibilities borrowed from other languages. For example, the Italian grandma name “Nonna” is used and is possible even for families with no Italian heritage. Jan 30, 2020 at 12:35
  • Like Kate Bunting, most people I grew up with named each grandmother by a different names - usually choosing from the traditional possibilities. For example, “Grandma & Nanny” or “Nan & Granny”. A few even used the same name when talking to each of them, but added a qualifier to distinguish them when the context required it, eg: “your Melbourne Gran”, “Grandma Stevens”, “little Nanna”. So, they were distinguished within the family but not to those outside the family. For example: “My granny lived in Perth.”, “Was she your maternal grandmother?”, “No, granny was my dad’s mother.” Jan 30, 2020 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


Well .. they're both called Grandma but based on this

a common solution is to call grandparents by their first names ("Grandpa George", "Grandma Anne", etc.) or by their family names ("Grandpa Jones", "Grandma Smith"). In North America, many families call one set of grandparents by their ethnic names (e.g., Hispanic grandparents might be called abuelo and abuela or "abuelito" and "abuelita"

Someone Suggested to call them Maternal or Paternal Grand-Parents But i dont really suggest that

  • I believe first names and surnames in a child’s name for their grandmother is a particularly feature of American English (Tom may only be interested in AmE, but we haven’t asked him). Additionally the Wikipedia entry you link to makes it clear that “numerous variants exist” for grandma. Finally, when you say “someone suggested” who are you referring to with no comments evident? Why don’t you consider “maternal grandmother” suitable in formal English? (All of this indicates that it may be better to wait for comments before going straight to an answer). Jan 30, 2020 at 4:49
  • I believe you're smarter than this @OrbitalAussie ((Comments are used to ask for clarification , to point out problems in the post or minor information)) his question was How would I distinguish them by title not why you dont suggest maternal and paternal or Who is that 'someone' you mentioned , after all its Tom's question .. Wish You GoodLuck
    – MAB
    Jan 30, 2020 at 8:39
  • I commented to point out problems in your answer, as required when voting an answer down. By asking you to say who ‘someone’ is was merely pointing out the missing justification for the answer. I think you needed to explain why “maternal grandmother” does not work to distinguish them from a “paternal grandmother”. You might certainly have said, ‘Because they aren’t “titles” as called for by the question’, but you didn’t do that. Anyway, my apologies if I came across poorly and I’ll attempt moderate these sort of comments in the future. Jan 30, 2020 at 11:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .