Endearing names for grandparents around the world

We all love our grandparents, right? Whose constant need to feed and take care of us means we never leave their homes without being full to burst, or being paraded with pride in front of half the neighbors. This is an international experience, no matter the culture or the country, and not one of us doesn’t find our grandparents cute. So here are some of the most endearing names for grandparents from around the world; which are making you smile the most?


Photo via Flickr


Asia is home to some beautifully cute names for grandparents! 

In Japan, your grandmother is either Obachan or Sobo, and your grandfather Ojiisan or Sofu. Your Korean grandparents are Halmeoni and Halapoji respectively and in the Philippines the adorable Lola and Lolo. In Cambodia, the Khmer for grandmother is Yeay and for grandfather Taa, which should be easy to remember! 


In the Hmong language of Laos your grandmother is your Pog and your Grandfather your Yawg. Telugu, the third most widely spoken language of India, calls its grandmother Awa and its grandfather Tata. And finally in China, for your paternal grandparents, your grandmother is Nai Nai and grandfather Ye Ye, whereas for the maternal side of the family they are Lao Ye and Lao Lao.




The African continent also gives us some of the sweetest names for our grandparents.

Afrikaans call their grandmothers Ouma and their grandfathers Oupa. Moroccan Arabic uses Jiddah and Jadd respectively. For Swahili, the most widely spoken language across the continent, your grandmother is your Bibi and your grandfather Babu. Amharic is another widely spoken language and the official language of Ethiopia, where grandmothers are Āyatē and grandfathers Āyati.

Yoruba is one of West Africa’s most widely spoken languages, calling grandmothers Iya-nla and grandfathers Baba ati. And finally, perhaps the easiest to remember of them all is Hausa, where grandmothers are Kaka and grandfathers Kakan.

Photo via Wikimedia / Wikimedia

South America

For the countries of South America, the predominant languages are Portuguese and Spanish. With that in mind, each country tends to use a variation on the words for grandparents in these languages. For Portuguese-speaking countries like Brazil, grandmothers are Avó and grandfathers Avô. For Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico and Cuba, grandmothers are Abuela and grandfathers Abuelo — though as we all know, granny in Spanish is the beautiful Abuelita! 




Europe, like Asia and Africa, is rich with its diversity in languages, which means there are so many beautiful ways to name our grandparents! 


In Germany, our grandmothers are Oma and grandfathers Opa. Italians call theirs Nonna and Nonno respectively. For France, your grandmother is your Grandmére or Mémé and your grandfather Grandpére or Pépé.


In Greece, our grandparents are Yaya and Pappoús. In Denmark, the Flemish for grandmother is Bomma and for grandfather Bonpa. Continuing with Nordic countries, in Swedish your grandparents are Mormor and Morfar respectively. And for Iceland, your grandmother is your Amma and your grandfather your Afi.


Photo via Flickr

Many will already know that in Russia our grandmothers are Babushka and our grandfathers Dedushka. You can see a similarity to this in Polish, where grandmothers are Babcia or more affectionately Babka, and grandfathers Dziadek. Ukrainian wins for all Slavic languages, however, with Baba for grandmother and Gigi for grandfather.


Our final favorites for Europe come from Hungary, with Nagymama for grandmother and Nagypapa for grandfather, and Romania, with Bunica and Bunic respectively. With so many different language families across the European continent, it is easy to see why so many countries compete for cutest grandparent names!


More favorites!

Perhaps, like our grandparents, we shouldn’t have favorites, but of course, we all secretly do! In Hawaii your grandmother is your Tutu or Kuku, and your grandfather Tutu or Kane. In Hebrew our grandparents are Savta and Saba. In Irish Gaelic your grandmother is your Mhamó or Maimeó and your grandfather Seanathair or Daideó. We’re not sure it gets much cuter than that!


Finally, we suppose that English-speaking countries might also have produced some endearing names for their grandparents as well. We all know Nana and Papa, Grandma and Grandpa, Gramms and Gramps, and so on, but there are cuter still! In Louisiana, grandparents are Mawmaw & Pawpaw respectively. And Australia is a strong contender too, with Nanna for grandmother, and for grandfather, Pop.


In short, wherever you are in the world, there is an endearing name for your grandparents. Which do you use?