In the UK, Ireland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and, especially in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nan, Nana, Nanna, Nanny, Gran and Granny and other variations are common often used for grandmother in writing and speech.
Nan – Nan is of British origin and stands for nanny or nana, all popular alternatives to grandmother. A great choice for families with European ties or British family history, this is short and sweet, making it easy for young grandchildren to pronounce.
A new survey shows that the most popular terms for grandparents in the UK are ‘nan’ and ‘grandad’
Origins of the word grandmother in English
In Old English the word was ealdemodor, which sounds a lot like “old mother” and probably has roots in Old Norse. It was replaced by Grandame, which literally means “old lady”, due to the French influence on English.
-Scottish: In Scottish Gaelic, the word for granny is “Seanmhair“, meaning “good mother”. Other commonly used Scottish grandmother names are ‘Nana’, ‘Nanna’, ‘Mhamó’ and ‘Mamó’. -Spanish: In Spanish, grandmothers are known as “Abuela” or “Abuelita”.
-Scottish: In Scottish Gaelic, the word for grandpa is “Seanair“, but other commonly used Scottish grandfather names are “Grandad” and “Grandpa”. -Spanish: In Spanish, grandfathers are most often called “Abuelo”, but they can also be called “Abuelito” or “Tito”.
Ireland: Seanmáthair is Irish for grandmother, but Irish children are much more likely to use Maimeó or Móraí.
In Swedish, maternal grandparents are “mormor” for grandmother and “morfar” for grandfather. Paternal grandparents are “farmor” for grandmother and “farfar” for grandfather. If you want to experience everything Swedish up close, you don’t need your own Mormor.
The usual word for grandmother in North Wales Welsh is nain.
While maimeó and daideó are the words used to address a grandmother or grandfather, Irish has a few other words for grandparents . For example, there is máthair chríona, which translates to “wise mother,” and athair críonna, which translates to “wise father.”
A grandmother is usually called bestemor (grandmother, literally “best mother”), while a grandfather is Bestefar. Note that Norwegian, unlike English, has special words for ‘mother’s parents’ – mormor (‘mother-mother’) and morfar – and for ‘father’s parents’: farmor and farfar.
Nonna and Nonno
In Italy, Grandma and Grandpa are known as Nonna and Nonno. Many Italian-Americans also use these names or the variant nonni.