Which prefix is appropriate to use before family relatives(nieces, nephews and etc) to refer to the generation before them?

For the sake of clarification and better understanding, I'll give a few examples.

Example 1: Grand-niece or Great-niece?

Example 2: Grand-nephew or Great-nephew?

Example 3: Grand-uncle or Great-uncle?

Example 4 : Great-aunt or Grand-aunt?

I'd appreciate anyone who could answer this question, which could the one wandering in many other minds other than mine.

2 Answers 2


Great going up, grand going down is the general rule. Those of us that read the Paddington Bear stories to our children are well acquainted with Great Aunt Lucy...

Relationship naming explained

However - I have also seen the term grand-uncle... It sounds wrong to me but there may be regional variations

  • Illustrative image, indeed. (+1)
    – shin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 6:52
  • The post is so nice but I don't know which prefix should I actually put before the names? Like I don't whether I should put great or grand before aunt, uncle, niece, nephew and etc. Jun 21, 2016 at 10:11
  • To me, it seems that the rule is "grand, then greats", with the exemption of "Great Aunt or Uncle", which would explain the use of the term "Grand Uncle".
    – User42
    Jun 21, 2016 at 10:13
  • 3
    The first sentence of your answer (with the "general rule") is completely contradicted by the image, which is the part that I suspect is receiving the upvotes. Jun 21, 2016 at 15:09
  • 1
    @Ukko What about all the other cases with "grand" in the up direction and "great" in the down direction? If you ignore that one case there are still a lot more that contradict the "rule". Jun 21, 2016 at 22:01
  1. Great-niece.
  2. Great-nephew.
  3. Great-uncle.
  4. Great-aunt.

Your sibling's great-grandchildren are your great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews, and your great-grandparents' siblings are your great-great-uncles and great-great-aunts. The element "grand-" is not involved anywhere here.

"Grand-" is used only for direct ancestors and direct descendants. Your parents' parents are your grandparents; their parents are your great-grandparents and so on. Your children's children are your grandchildren; their children are your great-grandchildren and so on. There is only one "grand", and if there are any greats then the greats go before the grand.

  • We also have grand niece/nephew and (great) grand uncle/aunt. Those are not direct ancestors or descendants.
    – DCShannon
    Jun 21, 2016 at 22:48

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