Blog Post

10 adorably quirky grandparent names & the stories behind them

I didn’t intend to write a blog post about this. I just heard someone say an unusual grandparent name on TV and wondered what kinds of nicknames were out there. So I posted the question on Facebook and got tons of responses.

Many people said “MeeMaw” and “PaPaw,” which another reader said are only used in the south. And there were some cute ones that evolved and have no backstory, like Grandma Boo (submitted by Denise Dilley), Baba and Doctor (from Kathleen Wilkerson Magnan), StepBetty for a step-grandmother (from Leada Gore), Granddady and NannyCake (from Amy Hall), Lolli and Pop (from Lisa Weckworth Echols) and many more. Click here to see the original post, and be sure to follow me on Facebook, if you don’t already.

But the following quirky nicknames had funny backstories so I decided I needed to share them with all of you.

From Cathy Rhoden: “My great grandmother we called Grandmother Great.” Why? “She insisted.”

From Louise Strutzenburg: Her grandfather was known as “D.” Why? He was handed a card to sign he thought was for one of his children. “He started to write Daddy, and when she exclaimed, ‘No, Wayne, it’s to Holly!’ He put a dot after the “D” – and he has been D to all the grandchildren ever since.

From Fred Jones: Kitty Cat and Tom Cat. Why? “My maternal grandmother was Kitty. My maternal grandfather died before I was born. My maternal step-grandfather’s name was Tom. But the cuteness of it all was my grandmother used to refer themselves as Kitty Cat and Tom Cat.”

From Thomas Beane: “Don’s Mother.” Why? “My grandparents had a farm down below Birmingham. My aunt and uncle (Don) had houses on the farm too, so all the kids stayed over at my grandmother’s house most of the time. My oldest cousin started calling her ‘mother’ and that was confusing, so they would ask which mother. He said, ‘Don’s Mother.’ By the time I was born 10 years later, it was what all of us grandkids called her.”

From Cheryl Sugg: “Data.” Why?My cousins and I called him that. I don’t know exactly how it started but till he passed away he was Data.”

From Mary Helen Macon Martin: Her children called her parents BacBac and BaaBaa. Why? “’BacBac’ started when his oldest grandson played with his chewing tobacco pouch and dad would tell him it was ‘BacBac.’ Then my mother would offer a bottle to same first grandson after his mother stopped giving him a bottle thus ‘BaaBaa.’”

From Frances V. Rowe: Mama Dear and Daddy Dear. Why? “They always called each other ‘Dear.’”

From Jennifer Carter White: Pete, which was not his name. Why? “Pete was not his name but it came from his oldest grandson. My granddaddy called my brother Fiddlepete. Johnny told him if he was going to call him Fiddlepete then he was going to call him Pete. It stuck.”

From Debbie Gaddis Gunter: Grampy Hot Dog. Why? He was called “Grampy Hot Dog because he always tried to get babies to say, ‘Hot Dog!’”

From Julie Custer Pechon. PawPaw Monkey. Because “his nickname was Monk.”

3 thoughts on “10 adorably quirky grandparent names & the stories behind them”

  1. I’m Grammy, but my husband is Daddy Big. Our first grandchild was adopted by my son and daughter-in-law from Afghanistan. When we met her she was learning English. As we tried to decide what to call him, we had mentioned Big Daddy since he was the father of her new daddy. At some point she called him Daddy Big that day and the rest is history. Now all of the grands call him Daddy Big.


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