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What to Call Grandma?

Updated on February 26, 2013

Too many nanas in my family and we are running out of names to call them

With people having longer lives and extended and combined families, what to call the increasing number of grandmothers can be confusing. Have you ever considered an alternative to the numerous Nanas and Mamas? Maybe you could take your inspiration from worldwide when thinking what title to bestow on the newest grandmother in your family.

A gaggle of Grannies

As lifespans get longer, children seem to collect a whole flock of ' grandmothers'

As the brood of grandkids and the number of 'other' grandmothers attached to my family are increasing, a question that comes up is 'what will the new baby call me?'. Every family has its own way of identifying which grandmother they are talking about. Sometimes it is not just as easy as saying "Gran".

I am blessed with a fairly long living matriarchal line. At one point in my family there were 5 living generations... of which 3 generationshad at least one, if not several, suviving grandmothers amongst its members. When I first became a grandmother, both my mother and MY grandmother were still alive. Quite often all 3 of us were in a room with one of my sons and his children. The kids couldn't just call us all 'Grandma', it was too confusing.

For curiosity, i decided to look up what Grandmothers are called around the globe. This is what I found:


Jadda ArabicArabic, Palestinian dialect

Metzmayr Armenian

Amatchi Basque (region in NE Spain/SW France)

Henna Berber (Morocco & Algeria), Northeast/Northwest dialect

Jeeda Berber, Northern dialect

Mamm-Baour Breton (NW France)

Baba Bulgarian

Ãvia, Iaia (used by small children) Catalan (Spain) Chechen-Maternal

Nai-Nai Chinese (Mandarin) - paternal

Baba, Baka Croatian

babic'ka Czech

Mormor Danish - maternal

Fafa Danish - paternal

Oma Dutch

Avino Esperanto

Maadar-e Bozorg Farsi (colloquial) (Iraq)

isoäiti, Mummo, Mummu Finnish Flemish (Belgium)

Grand-maman French

Avoa Galician (Spain)

Bebia (colloq. = Babo) Georgian

Oma German

Yia Yia or yaya Greek - maternal

Nona Greek - paternal

Kupuna wahine, tu-tu-, ku-ku-, ku-ku- wahine Hawaiian

Savta Hebrew

Anyóka, nagyanya Hungarian

amma Icelandic

Dida India - Bengali - maternal

Thakur-ma India - Bengali* - paternal

Nanni India: Gujarati*, Hindi*, Urdu* - maternal

Daadi India: Gujarati*, Hindi*, Urdu* - paternal

Ammamma India - Telugu

Aanaga ("Aana" commonly) nupiaq Eskimo

Maimeó (Mammo) Irish Gaelic

Nonna Italian Kurdish* (Iraq, Turkey, Syria)

vecma-min,a, te-vama-te, ma-tesma-te Latvian

(bobute.) senele. Lithuanian

Jjajja (GAH kyeh) Luganda (southern Uganda)

Nenibe Malagasy (Madagascar)

nenek Malay (Malaysia)

Busia Polish

vovozinha, avó Portuguese

Meme Quebecois (Canada)

bunica(, bunicut, Romanian

Babushka Russian

Baba, Nana Serbian

Abuela/Abuelo Spanish

Tita Spanish - informal (short for Abuelita/Abuelito)

Bibi, Nyanya Swahili -Eastern Africa (only spoken as a lingua franca)

Mormor Swedish - maternal grandparents

Farmor Swedish - paternal grandparents

Teta (Te tah) Syrian

Lola Tagalog (Philippines)

Anneanne (pronounced anna anna) Turkish - maternal

Babaanne Turkish - paternal

Ene Turkmen (Turkmenistan)

babusia, baba Ukrainian

Daadi Urdu (India)

Bibi Uzbek (Uzbekistan)

mmakhulu Venda (northern South Africa)

bà Vietnamese

Nain ("nine") Welsh - northern part

Mam-gu (mam-GHEE with a hard 'g') Welsh - southern part

Bubbe Yiddish

Ugogo Zulu (South Africa)

There are certainly a few different options to think about next time the conversation comes up with the 'other grandma' as to what we are going to be known as.

What do your grandkids call you?

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