Choose the Perfect Grandfather Name

Choosing the perfect grandfather name
Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz
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If you've just learned that you're going to become a grandfather, you have cause to rejoice. Modern grandfathers are often just as involved in their grandchildren's lives as the grandmothers of the past. They also may choose to be known by non-traditional grandfather names, although many find the time-honored tags perfectly serviceable.

Traditional Grandfather Names

Those opting for the traditional still have their pick of an almost endless number of variations on the traditional Grandpa, some evidently caused by childish mispronunciation, some perhaps derived from grandfather names in other languages. Some families, especially those with multiple grandparents, choose to add the given name or the last name to the grandparent name, arriving at combinations such as Grandpa Will or Poppa Fisher.

  • Big Daddy
  • Big Paw
  • Grandfather
  • Grandpa
  • Grampa
  • Grandpappy
  • Gramps
  • Granddad
  • Granddaddy
  • Grandpop
  • PawPaw
  • Peepaw
  • Papadaddy
  • Pop
  • Poppa
  • Pops
  • Pop-Pop
  • Poppy
  • Boom-pa
  • Bompa
  • Bumpy
  • Boppa

Modern Grandfather Names

The tendency among some grandmothers to opt for younger-sounding names has its counterpart among grandfathers but is a considerably smaller contingent. Grandfathers who opt for different names often choose something that relates to a job or an interest. The list of modern grandfather names is short but can be expected to grow as members of the baby boomer generation increasingly become grandparents.

  • Ace
  • Boss
  • Bubba
  • Buck
  • Buddy
  • Buzzy
  • Captain
  • Champ
  • Chief
  • Coach
  • Duke
  • G or Gee
  • G-Dad or G-Daddy
  • G-Dawg or G-Dog
  • G-Pa
  • Grady
  • Granda or Grandy
  • Grand-dude
  • Granite
  • King
  • Papi
  • Papadaddy
  • Papster
  • Pepe, Pepo, or Peppy
  • Poppo or PoPo
  • PopZ
  • Rocky
  • Skipper

Grandfather in Other Languages

Some grandfathers choose names favored by different nationalities or cultures, and it's not necessary that it be one's own culture. Opa, for example, is a popular choice among grandfathers of all stripes.

A listing of grandfather names taken from other languages is complicated by the fact that such names usually occur in several different spellings when translated into English, especially when they are taken from a language that uses a different alphabet. I've included many of these alternate forms and spellings, but there may be others. In addition, many languages have both a formal and informal term for grandfather. The following list, therefore, is not complete and authoritative but is offered as a starting point.

  • Chinese: YéYé or YehYeh (paternal); Gōng Gong or Wàigōng (maternal)
  • Filipino: Lolo (most common), Ingkong, Lelong, Abwelo 
  • Flemish: Bompa, Bompi, Opa, Opi
  • French: Grand-père, Grand-papa, Pépère, Papy, Papi
  • French Canadian: Pépé, Pépère, Papi
  • German: Opa
  • Greek: Pappoús, Pappoo, Papu, Papou
  • Hawaiian: Tutu kane, Kuku kane
  • Hebrew: Saba, Sabba
  • Italian: Nonno, Nonnuccio, Nonnino, Nonnetto
  • Irish: Seanathair, Daideó
  • Japanese: Ojiisan, Sofu, Jiji
  • Korean: Haraboji, Harabeoji, Halaboji, Halabeoji
  • Polish: Dziadek, Dziadziu
  • Portuguese: Avô, Avozinho, Vovô,  Vo
  • Russian: Dedushka, Deda, Dedulya
  • Spanish: Abuelo, Abuelito, Lito
  • Yiddish: Zayde, Zaydee, Zaydeh

Modifications by Grandchildren

One disadvantage that grandfathers have is that their names are easily modified into something less than flattering. Gramps, for example, has been known to morph into Grumps, whereas Poppy and Poopy are a little too close for comfort. When spoken by an adoring grandchild, however, even such names have their charms.

Some grandfathers may not spend much time pondering their grandfather name. So, later, they may wish that they had opted for a different choice. There's nothing wrong with changing a grandfather's name in mid-stream, so to speak. But grandfathers who decide to do so should be prepared if family members have trouble making the change.

By Susan Adcox
Susan Adcox is a writer covering grandparenting and author of Stories From My Grandparent: An Heirloom Journal for Your Grandchild.