[ gran-fah-ther-lee, grand- ]
/ ˈgrænˌfɑ ðər li, ˈgrænd- /
Save This Word!

of or characteristic of a grandfather.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of grandfatherly

First recorded in 1815–25; grandfather + -ly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does grandfatherly mean?

Grandfatherly is an adjective that most commonly means like a grandfather. It’s especially used in a positive way to describe someone as being kind, nurturing, and protective—like a good grandfather who loves and cares for his grandchild(ren).

Describing someone as grandfatherly often implies that they listen and give good advice—it’s perhaps most commonly used in the phrase grandfatherly advice.

Grandfatherly is most often used to describe grandfathers themselves, but it can be applied to someone who’s not a grandfather, as in After my grandfather died, I started relying on my Great Uncle Joe for grandfatherly support.

Grandfatherly is one of many similar adjectives based on family relations, including motherly, fatherly, grandmotherly, brotherly, and sisterly.

Example: Many of my most important life lessons came in the form of grandfatherly advice from my kindly Grandpa George.

Where does grandfatherly come from?

The word grandfatherly has been used since at least the 1700s. The suffix -ly is often used to form adverbs, but in the case of grandfatherly it means “like” (i.e., like a grandfather).

The common meaning of grandfatherly is based not on any grandfather but on a good grandfather, one who is kind and supportive. The phrase grandfatherly advice typically refers to advice that’s wise, comes from experience, and is intended to help you be the best you can be. Such advice can come from your actual grandfather or from someone who treats you in a grandfatherly way.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for grandfatherly?

  • grandfatherlike

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


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

How is grandfatherly used in real life?

Grandfatherly is usually used in a positive way to describe a man or something he does as being like a good grandfather. It can be applied to grandfathers or people who are not grandfathers.


Try using grandfatherly!

Which of the following actions could be described as grandfatherly?

  1. giving you good advice
  2. comforting you
  3. cheering you on
  4. all of the above

How to use grandfatherly in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for grandfatherly

/ (ˈɡrænˌfɑːðəlɪ, ˈɡrænd-) /

of, resembling, or suitable to a grandfather, esp in being kindly
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