I Want a Cool Grandma Name

Me and my fictional grandchild

Part One

I’m not wild for any grandma names I’ve heard but my placeholder is currently Nonny. While I don’t love it, I’m sure it will sound charming coming from a little copy of my son or daughter. And the way things stand now, I’ve got plenty of time.

My children, 29 and 32, have given no indication I’ll ever have grandkids. But I don’t let that stop me from thinking about my grandma name.

In the past, it seems, the child often chose the grandparents’ names. My daughter changed Grandma to Grammy, for example. My mother, however, became a grandma in her 30s and felt too young to use the traditional moniker so she picked out a more youthful grandma name — Nina.

Best laid plans

Sometimes things don’t go as planned but turn out exactly right anyway. Our friend Jim decided he would be Pops to his grandsons. Only that’s not how his first grandchild said it and he is Pots forevermore. Another fellow chose Poppy but is now Hoppy. Both these grandpas are perfectly pleased with the outcome.

Some popular grandma names are Nana, Meemaw, Mimi, and Gigi. A few unusual ones I’ve heard include Queenie, Teeny, Bebe, and Two-Mom. Goldie Hawn’s grandchildren call her GoGo. Kris Jenner’s littles say Lovey. Sharon Osbourne is called Shazza. Clearly I’ve done my homework.

It was my idea!

Never had I mentioned any of this to my husband because he would find it silly for me to ponder grandma names when there’s no bundle of joy on the horizon. This only makes our conversation last weekend more maddening.

We were out hiking, as usual, and had just eaten lunch. We’d packed up and I was holding a water bottle I wanted to put in the pocket of his backpack when he started walking away. “Hold on, Hoss!” I said, trying to evoke a runaway horse or cowboy I guess. Really, it just popped out.

We talked about Hoss being a funny name, but how it is endearing too. We discussed the character in the old cowboy show Bonanza. Suddenly he piped up, “That’s what I want our grandchildren to call me!”

Joy to jealousy

I laughed and we played with the name a little more and that’s when my feelings turned to jealousy. I had been reading about grandma names and thinking about it and ended up with Nonny. He put in no time or effort and now has the coolest grandpa name I’ve ever heard! It’s just not fair!

Can’t you just hear this coming out of a three-year-old’s mouth: “Hi, Nonny! Where’s Hoss?” “Can you read this book to me, Hoss?” I told all this to our kids at our weekly Zoom call and someone suggested I could be the Hossette. Please. I don’t need lame charity. I need a kickass name!

So it’s back to the drawing board. Leave me any cool grandma names you think of in the comments. I’m open to suggestion.

In the meantime, I’m going to think about pet names for my fictional grandchild. We live in Georgia so I’m leaning toward Peaches. And Hoss can’t use it. He’s ridden as far on my saddle as I’m taking him.

Part Two

My older brother with our two grandmothers, both called (unimaginatively) “Grandma”, circa 1954

Previously I wrote about grandma names. I had been thinking about it and came up with one I could live with (Nonny) while my better half exerted no effort and arrived at a much cooler one (Hoss).

There are no grandchildren on the horizon but it was fun connecting with others over this story so I did a little more research.

A list of Hippie Grandma Names included Cookie, Mimzy,  Gram Cracker and Tootsie. Nana showed up as the most popular grandma name in my state, though I don’t know anyone who uses it.

Wonderful readers

Clearly grandparents attach a lot of emotion to the name their little miracles use for them. I thought it would be fun to share some of the stories I heard:

One reader said that her grandmother said “A’morning!” rather than “good morning. She would lean over the crib and say “A’morning, Gail!”to her first grandchild so the little girl called her “A’morning.” Subsquent grandchildren shortened it to “Morning” and it stuck.

When her grandchildren were small, another grandma told me, she lived in Ohio and the state became her grandma name. The children’s other grandmother lives in Hilton Head and is known as “Sand Mom” which is cool because it rhymes with Grandmom.

Some grandma names are amusing.  An old friend said her mother-in-law, a lady who stood no taller than 5 feet, was known as Big Momma. One grandmother who made a tradition of giving quarters to her littles was dubbed “Munny.”

A teacher friend shared that she wanted to be called Grammy because, in her words, “who doesn’t want to be an award?” But bigger prizes were in store when her first grandchild dubbed her “Boppy” which she loves for its originality.


I heard stories of Lolli and Pop as grandparent names but each tale had its own unique twist. One Lolli said that her first grandchild couldn’t say the “L” sound at first and she was “Yotti.” “The first day he called me Lolli was almost sad,” she wrote, “because Yotti was a chapter closed.”

Another Lolli shared that when she and “Pop” get their full-time home in a community where houses are traditionally named, theirs will be “Lollipopaloosa” and that sealed the deal on their grandparent names.

A commenter shared that she and her husband set out to be Lolly and Big Man. But kids will be kids and Lolly’s husband is known simply as “Man.”

A neighbor told of a grandmother in her family who is known as “Dear Mom.” She named herself Glammy and her husband chose Grandpa but “Peepaw” is what took hold.

Grandpas get their share of fun names too. There was a “Gramps” who became “Grumps.” Another grandpa started as “Gumps” but turned into “Dumps” due to a youngster’s pronunciation. “G-Daddy” and “Doo Daddy” are fun variations of Grandaddy that readers shared.

One woman told me that she and her husband use her parents’ names since they passed before meeting their great-grandchildren.

Someday maybe I’ll join the club. In the meantime, I’ll dream of the perfect grandma name (which is probably anything they want to call me!)

Check out my work on Medium: https://smithcuse.medium.com/

2 Replies to “I Want a Cool Grandma Name”

  1. Sorry, I do not have any good stories or suggestions for you. Gary and I went with the boring Grandma and Grandpa and our very articulate grandson had no problems with his pronunciation. Whatever name your guys choose ( or the little one chooses), it will be “music” to your ears. (By the way, I do like Hoss.)

  2. Seems I am quite traditional being as I like “Grams” and “Gramps”. “Hoss” is pretty awesome though!

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