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These Old-Fashioned Alternatives To 'Grandma' Could Start A Family Tradition

It can be hard for women to imagine themselves being called "Grandma." I can't be that old, can I? But then they hold their grandchild in their arms for the first time, and instantly they accept and treasure their new role. But do they have to be called "Grandma," even if the shoe fits? The answer is no, of course, thanks to the many existing nicknames for grandmothers. Some of these affectionate monikers have even been around for hundreds of years.

Not all names fit well with every type of grandmother. It's hard to imagine Queen Elizabeth letting her grandchildren or great-grandchildren call her Honey or Googie. (For the record, William and Harry call her Granny, and Prince George calls her "Gan Gan," according to The Independent.) But when you find the right name, you know it. Or, in some cases, names. My mother-in-law, who has six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, is known either as Gram, Grandma, or DiDi, depending on which child she's with. She proudly answers to all of them.

If your mom (or you!) is about to be a grandmother and needs some inspiration, consider these possibilities. They're old-fashioned, true, but that also makes them classic. They may even be the names you or your partner called your own grandmothers, in which case you'll be handing down a family tradition. The important thing is that this name will be spoken hundreds of times by a little person who adores their grandmother.



One of the classic grandmother names of all time, as affirmed by The Good Stuff. Depending on your preference, you can pronounce it either with an emphasis on the first syllable, or on the last (Addams Family-style).



A popular choice in the South, as reported by Southern Living, Meemaw is the kind of grandma who's equally skilled teaching the grandkids to bait a hook or roll out sugar cookies.



The Italian name for "grandmother" is a nice choice even if you're not Italian, explained VeryWell Family. Plus, it's the name of a classic character in children's books: Tomie dePaola's Strega Nona (you remember, the woman with the magic pasta pot).



Possibly a derivative of Nonna, per SheKnows, Nana is an especially popular nickname in the Mid-Atlantic states, but you'll see it here and there farther west as well.



How can you argue with the name Princes William and Harry call Her Majesty? Granny is less formal than Grandma, but not quite as out-there as some of the names millennials are choosing, like Birdie or Teeny. And Gran is even friendlier.



More playful than Grandma or Gran, Gammie can be spelled a variety of ways according to your preference, per Considerable. Try Gammi, Gammy or Gami for size.



According to a dialect study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mimi is the preferred name for grandmothers largely along the East Coast, and in portions of the Midwest, South and Texas. Isn't it time it got more attention further west of the Rio Grande?



Oma is the traditional German name for "grandmother," but it works for any family, especially since it's easy for a young child to say.



Usually pronounced to rhyme with "hubby," this traditional Yiddish grandma name can also be spelled Bubby, Bubbie or Bube, according to Kveller. However you spell it, the name calls forth loving associations of good food, sweet lullabies, and reminders to dress warmly.



Another traditional Southern grandma name, Mimsy is definitely unstuffy and just quirky enough to be interesting, which will appeal to a new grandmother who relates to that description.



Also spelled Yiayia, this is the Greek word for "grandmother" and is easy enough for even the littlest grandchildren to say.


Big Mama

Almost exclusively a Southern name, it takes a special kind of grandma to be a Big Mama. As described in the blog The Crab Chronicles, a Big Mama is "all about love, and all about being a fierce tiger mama. You hold your family together. You are a bible-reading, Sunday-School-going, fried-chicken cooking Epitome of Motherhood."



A diminutive of the Spanish "abuela," or grandmother, Abuelita can be shortened to just Ita or Ela. It works especially well matched with a grandfather known as Abuelo, Abuelito, Ito or Elo.



In Sweden, grandparents' names depend on which side of the family they're from, according to Reader's Digest. A mother's mother is known as Mormor to her grandchildren, but a father's mother is Farmor to hers. Grandfathers are Morfar and Farfar. All of them are good options for both sides of your family.