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90s Slang You Should Know


[gran-fah-th er, grand-] /ˈgrænˌfɑ ðər, ˈgrænd-/
the father of one's father or mother.
a forefather.
the founder or originator of a family, species, type, etc.; the first of one's or its kind, or the one being longest in existence:
the grandfather of all steam locomotives.
verb (used with object)
to exempt (something or someone) from new legislation, restrictions, or requirements:
The law grandfathered all banks already operating at the time of passage. He was grandfathered into the pension plan.
Origin of grandfather
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1375-1425; See origin at grand-, father Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for grandfather
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yes, I had it in the blood, on account of my grandfather, I suppose.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • With considerable of a to-do, Mrs. Norris announced the gift of a grandfather's clock.

    Tutors' Lane Wilmarth Lewis
  • I've got the grandfather of all headaches, and I won't be able to think straight for a week.

    The Players Everett B. Cole
  • They will receive it as a gift from their brothers, instead of as their due from their grandfather.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • grandfather had such respect for her judgment that I knew he would not go against her.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
British Dictionary definitions for grandfather


/ˈɡrænˌfɑːðə; ˈɡrænd-/
the father of one's father or mother
(often pl) a male ancestor
(often capital) a familiar term of address for an old man
(dialect) a caterpillar or woodlouse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for grandfather

early 15c., from grand (adj.) + father (n.), probably on analogy of French grand-père. Replaced grandsire and Old English ealdefæder. Grandfather clause originally (1900) referred to exemptions from post-Reconstruction voting restrictions in the U.S. South for men whose forebears had voted before the Civil War. Grandfather clock is c.1880, from the popular song; they were previously known as tall case clocks or eight-day clocks.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for grandfather



To give someone a special status or privilege because of service before the time a new or definitive arrangement is made: Some farmers just got grandfathered in, that's true

[1900+; fr the grandfather clause often written into new arrangements in order to be fair to older incumbents or practitioners; the date indicates the earliest instance of grandfather clause]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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