[ gran-muhth-er, grand-, gram- ]
/ ˈgrænˌmʌð ər, ˈgrænd-, ˈgræm- /
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the mother of one's father or mother.
a female ancestor.
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Origin of grandmother

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at grand-, mother1


grammar, grandma, grandmother
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does grandmother mean?

A grandmother is the mother of a person’s parent.

When a mother’s child has their own children, that mother becomes a grandmother.

Less commonly, grandmother can be used in a general way to refer to a female ancestor, as in This would not be possible without the contributions of those who came before us, our many grandmothers.

Should grandmother be capitalized?

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

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

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

Where does grandmother come from?

The first records of the word grandmother come from around 1400. 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-grandmother.)

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. Common variants of grandmother include grandma, grandmom, gramma, grandmamma, gran, granny, and nana, but many families have their own specific version, such as meemaw and MaMotts.

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What are some other forms related to grandmother?

What are some synonyms for grandmother?

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

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

How is grandmother used in real life?

There are many informal variants of the word grandmother. When it’s used as a proper name, Grandmother should be capitalized.



Try using grandmother!

Is grandmother used correctly in the following sentence?

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

How to use grandmother in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for grandmother

/ (ˈɡrænˌmʌðə, ˈɡrænd-) /

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