[ gran ]
/ græn /
Save This Word!

noun Informal.



Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Meet Grammar Coach

Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing

Meet Grammar Coach

Improve Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of gran

First recorded in 1860–65; by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does gran mean?

Gran is an informal word for grandmother—the mother of a person’s parent.

The word granny is used in the same way. A similar word for a grandfather is gramps.

Gran should be capitalized when it’s used as a proper name, as in Please tell Gran that I miss her. 

But gran does not need to be capitalized when it’s simply used as a way to refer to her, as in Please tell my gran that I miss her. 

Example: It doesn’t matter what you call your gran, as long as you call her.

Where does gran come from?

The first records of the word gran come from the 1800s. The word granny is recorded earlier, in the 1600s. In words like grandmother and grandma, the d is often unpronounced, making them sound like they start with gran (or gram). The prefix grand- is used in family terms to indicate a person who is one generation removed, as in grandparent and grandchild.

Grandmothers often have special bonds with their grandchildren (who they’re known to spoil with love, affection, and candy). It’s common for grandchildren to refer to their grandmothers with informal names. Grandma is perhaps the most common variant of the word grandmother, but there are many others, including gran, granny, grandmom, gramma, grandmamma, and nana. Many families have their own specific version, such as meemaw and MaMotts.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for gran?

What are some words that share a root or word element with gran

What are some words that often get used in discussing gran?

How is gran used in real life?

Gran is one of the many informal variants of the word grandmother. When it’s used as a proper name, Gran should be capitalized.



Try using gran!

Is gran used correctly in the following sentence?

My gran is 98 years old and is as active as ever.

Example sentences from the Web for gran

British Dictionary definitions for gran

/ (ɡræn) /


an informal word for grandmother
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