[gran-muhth-er, grand-, gram-]


the mother of one's father or mother.
a female ancestor.

Origin of grandmother

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at grand-, mother1
Can be confusedgrammar grandma grandmother Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for grandmother

matriarch, ancestor, granny, grandma, dowager, gram

Examples from the Web for grandmother

Contemporary Examples of grandmother

Historical Examples of grandmother

  • They began at once to think of whom they should inquire,—of the teacher, or of the grandmother.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • The grandmother was really standing there, holding the fiddle out to him.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • Not far from his grandmother's residence there was a windmill which operated on a new plan.

    Biographical Stories

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Why, when he was your age, his father was at war and papa and Grandmother Wade had to do everything.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • Tell him your grandmother was the sergeant's Mary Ann and your father was Sami.

British Dictionary definitions for grandmother



the mother of one's father or mother
(often plural) a female ancestor
(often capital) a familiar term of address for an old woman
teach one's grandmother to suck eggs See egg 1 (def. 8)
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

Word Origin and History for grandmother

early 15c., from grand (adj.) + mother (n.1), probably on analogy of French grand-mère. Replaced earlier grandame (c.1200) and Old English ealdemodor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper