[ gran-mah, -maw, grand-, gram-, gram-muh ]
/ ˈgrænˌmɑ, -ˌmɔ, ˈgrænd-, ˈgræm-, ˈgræm mə /
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noun Informal.
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Origin of grandma

First recorded in 1865–70; grand- + ma


grammar, grandma , grandmother
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does grandma mean?

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

When a mother’s child has their own children, that mother becomes a grandma. The word ma is an informal way to say mother.

Grandma is often combined with a name, especially when a person has two grandmothers that they call Grandma, as in Grandma Marg and Grandma Marie. 

Should grandma be capitalized?

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

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

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

Where does grandma come from?

The first records of the word grandma come from the 1700s. The word ma is a shortening of mama, which is first recorded in the 1500s but was certainly used in speech much earlier than that. The prefix grand- is used in family terms to indicate a person who is one generation removed, as in grandparent and grandchild. (The prefix great- indicates yet another generation, as in great-grandma.)

Grandmas 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 grandmom, gramma, grandmamma, gran, granny, and nana. Many families have their own specific version, such as meemaw and MaMotts.

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What are some synonyms for grandma?

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

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

How is grandma used in real life?

Grandma is perhaps the most common informal way of saying grandmother. When it’s used as a proper name, Grandma should be capitalized.



Try using grandma!

Is grandma used correctly in the following sentence?

I’m a grandma of two and a mother of five, so I know a thing or two about temper tantrums.

How to use grandma in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for grandma


grandmama or grandmamma (ˈɡrænməˌmɑː, ˈɡrænd-)

/ (ˈɡrænˌmɑː, ˈɡrænd-, ˈɡræm-) /

informal words 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