[ gran-muhth-er-lee, grand-, gram- ]
/ ˈgrænˌmʌð ər li, ˈgrænd-, ˈgræm- /
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of or characteristic of a grandmother.
Test how much you really know about regular and irregular plural nouns with this quiz.
Question 1 of 9
Which of the following nouns has an irregular plural form?

Origin of grandmotherly

First recorded in 1835–45; grandmother + -ly

OTHER WORDS FROM grandmotherly

grand·moth·er·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does grandmotherly mean?

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

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

Grandmotherly is most often used to describe grandmothers themselves, but it can be applied to someone who’s not a grandmother, as in After my grandmother died, I started relying on my Great Aunt Jane for grandmotherly support. 

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

Example: Many of my most important life lessons came in the form of grandmotherly advice from my kindly Grandma Rose.

Where does grandmotherly come from?

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

The common meaning of grandmotherly is based not on any grandmother but on a good grandmother, one who is kind and supportive. The phrase grandmotherly 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 grandmother or from someone who treats you in a grandmotherly way.

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What are some synonyms for grandmotherly?

  • grandmotherlike

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


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

How is grandmotherly used in real life?

Grandmotherly is usually used in a positive way to describe a woman or something she does as being like a good grandmother. It can be applied to grandmothers or people who are not grandmothers.


Try using grandmotherly!

Which of the following actions could be described as grandmotherly?

A. giving you good advice
B. comforting you
C. cheering you on
D. all of the above

How to use grandmotherly in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for grandmotherly

/ (ˈɡrænˌmʌðəlɪ, ˈɡrænd-) /

of, resembling, or suitable to a grandmother, esp in being protective, indulgent, or solicitous
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