14 Common Ways To Say Grandma In Spanish - SpanishToMind (2024)

How do you say grandma in Spanish? If you’re looking for an exact translation, that would be: “abuela”.

However, you probably want more than that if your grandma is from a Spanish background, or because she only speaks Spanish and you want to connect better with her.

That reminds me of my friend Trevon.

His Grandma was from Puerto Rico, but she only spoke English.

The sad thing was that he never talked to her, and when she died, he felt guilty because he never made any effort to get to know her.

His excuse was the language, but I know you don’t want to be like that.

You want to improve your communication with your Spanish-speaking family.

This article is for you because we’ll go through 14 different ways to say grandma in Spanish.

The goal is to help you build a bigger repertoire of words to call your grandma with different nicknames.

After reading this post, you will also be able to understand when native speakers refer to their nannies.

#1 The exact translation for Grandma in Spanish: Abuela

14 Common Ways To Say Grandma In Spanish - SpanishToMind (1)

If you type “grandmother” in Google Translate, you’ll get “Abuela”.

This is the most common way to refer to the mother of one of your parents in Spanish.

People use it in all countries, and every Spanish native speaker understands this word.

These are a couple of examples using “abuela”:

  • ¡Hola, abuela! tiempo sin verte: Hello grandma, long time no see!
  • Mi abuela no ha salido de casa desde que inició la pandemia: My grandmother hasn’t come out of the house since the pandemic started.

Native speakers play with words all the time, which means that they may shorten words at any moment.

Because of that you may probably hear native speaker saying:

#2 Abue

“Abue” is just the short version of Abuela.

If you look at the word “Abue”, then you probably noticed that “La” is missing at the end.

People shorten words this way to send a message of feeling familiarity to the person they’re talking to.

They even do it with names, but that’s a whole different story.

Check out these examples:

  • Mi abue es la mejor, ella me dio dinero para un helado: My grandma is the best, she gave me money for an ice cream.
  • Mi abue dejó su bolso en mi auto: My grandma left her purse in my car.

#3 Awe

With this word native speakers play with the letter “b” in the word “abue”.

I feel like it’s a lazy way to avoid saying that letter.

Pronunciation is not as in the word “Awesome” in English, which I know is how you are reading it right now.

Spanish speakers pronounce it as AA-OO-EH.

It’s very common to hear children calling their nanas this way because they probably are not so skillful when they talk.

However adults keep using this word during their life, in an effort to express affection to their grandmothers. For instance:

  • Hola Awe, ¿trajiste dulces hoy también?: Hi Grandma, did you bring candies today too?
  • Mi awe me dijo que me iba a llevar de paseo cuando terminara la escuela: My grandma told me that she was going to take me on a trip when I finished school .

#4 Abu

Some native speakers may go a little further in shortening the word “Abuela”, to the point in which the word would miss “ela”

Again they do this just to create a message of affection.

To be honest, “Abu” isn’t a very common way to call your grandma in Colombia, but I’ve heard native speakers from other countries using it.

Here are some examples:

  • Abu, ¿segura que te sientes bien hoy?: Grandma, are you sure you feel good today?
  • Abu, no tengo hambre, ¡de verdad!: Grandma, I’m not hungry, seriously!

#5 Wela

14 Common Ways To Say Grandma In Spanish - SpanishToMind (2)

“Wela” is another shortened and wrong-pronounced version of “abuela”.

It’s like if the person was skipping the “A” in “abuela” and saying only “buela”, but taking pressure off the “B”.

I know many Spanish teachers would say that this isn’t correct Spanish, and they’re right, but that’s how people talk in real life and you need to be ready to understand them.

Examples with “Wela”:

  • Wela… ¿y por qué te enamoraste del abuelo?: Grandma… and why did you fall in love with grandpa?
  • Wela, ¿quieres que te enseñe a manejar la tablet?: Grandma, do you want me to teach you to use the tablet?

#6 Abuelita

People use lots of diminutives in Spanish, I mean they do it a lot.

Sometimes they do it because they want to express affection for what they’re talking about.

This is the case of the word “Abuelita”.

Some examples:

  • Mi abuelita hace los mejores frijoles de toda la historia humana: My grandma makes the best beans ever.
  • ¿Viste que mi abuelita me trajo un regalo? ¡Cómo la amo!: Did you see that my grandma bought me a present? I love her so much!

#7 Lita

After learning the word Abuelita, you have to know that native speakers also shorten tis word.

This time notice that we’re skipping “abue” and leaving “Lita” as a nickname to say grandma in Spanish.

Children are the ones who make this mistake the most, but sometimes adults use it too in an effort to keep that “affection” for grandma.

Some examples:

  • Lita, ¿Cuántos años tienes tú?: Grandma, how old are you?
  • Seguro que cuando llegue mi hijo, va a empezar a preguntar por la Lita: Make sure that when my son comes home, he’s going to ask about his grandmother

#8 Agüelita

Perhaps Spanish teachers will hate me for teaching you this word, this is a mistake locals in Colombia make every day.

People who say this, are especially people who don’t have much education.

Also, it’s very common to hear little children with pronunciation problems saying it.

Should you use it? No, please don’t.

Just be aware that you may hear it from native speakers.

It’s very normal to hear them saying that and even using the shortened versions undo word which will cover later for now here are tell me examples:

  • Yo vivo con mi agüelita en la finca:I live with my grandma in the farm
  • A mi mamá le toca cuidar a mi agüelita porque yo todavía estoy muy pequeño:I have to take care of my grandmother because I’m still too young


So far, we’ve covered different ways in which native speakers play with the word “Abuela”.

They shorten it, divided it, and even “slice” it into pieces. 😅

Let’s go now through some of the nicknames that people usually give their grandmothers:

#9 Mamá + the grandma’s name

14 Common Ways To Say Grandma In Spanish - SpanishToMind (3)

Yes, “mamá” means mother, but that’s also a nickname for grandmother.

People who say this want to communicate that their grandmother is as respected and loved as their own mothers.

This is actually how my mom refers to her grandmother when she talks about her.

Here are some of the phrases my mother says when she remembered her grandma:

  • La mamá rosa preparaba un dulce de papaya excelente: Rosa, my grandma used to prepare an excellent papaya dessert.
  • La mamá rosa se enojaba mucho porque los niños hacían mucha bulla: Rosa,
  • My grandma used to get very angry because the kids were very noisy.

#10 Mamita

Another nickname to call your grandmother is “Mamita”, which is a diminutive for Mom.

Just as #9, If you’re using this word, you’re referring to your grandma as if she was your mother.

This one, however, gives the grandma a little more affection because it uses a diminutive.

It communicates that you consider your grandma a loving and sweet person.

I think only Colombians use this nickname, though I may be wrong. If you know about other countries using it, let me know in the comments.

Some examples:

  • Hola hijo, ¿ya saludaste a la mamita?: Hi son, did you say hi to Grandma already?
  • La mamita no tiene hambre, ella dijo que prefería un postre en vez de sopa: Grandma isn’t hungry, she said she preferred a dessert instead of soup.

#11 Mita

This is the shortened version of “Mamita”.

As you can notice, we skip “Ma”, and the only thing we say is “Mita”

Here are some examples:

  • Mita, ¿le traigo los audífonos para que escuche mejor?: Grandma. Do you want me to bring you the headphones so you can hear better?
  • ;ita, ¿si vio que mi hermano me robó la pelota que usted me regaló?: Grandma, did you see that my brother stole the ball you gave me?

#12 Nana

“Nana” is an old word native speakers use to say Grandma in Spanish with a touch of affection.

Honestly, I don’t hear it very often. Perhaps it is the region in which I live because it isn’t very common in my area.

For instance:

  • Mi nana me enseñó que uno no debe escuchar a los extraños: My grandma taught me that I shouldn’t listen to strangers
  • Mi nana nos cuidaba mucho, más que mi mamá: My grandma used to take care of us a lot, more than my mother.

Another way to use this word is to talk about a woman who’s hired to take care of kids, and clean a house.

#13 Yaya

This is another nickname to show affection to your grandmother.

People use it in both Spain and Latin America.

However, if you want me to be honest I’ve never heard it in Colombia and I’ve never used it with any of my grandmother’s.

Some examples:

  • Hay que limpiar la casa porque la yaya viene de visita y a ella no le gusta el desorden: I have to clean the house because grandma is coming to visit and she doesn’t like the mess
  • La yaya está muy triste porque le dijeron que el banco ya no le prestaría dinero: Grandma is very sad because they told her that the bank wouldn’t lend her money anymore.

#14 Tita

The word “Tita” is another way of referring to your grandmother as you express affection for her.

A common way of using it is using the article “La”, as if the grandma was an object.

An object you love I guess. 😅

It’s kind of a lovely nickname to say Granny. For Examples:

  • La tita dijo que fuéramos a almorzar a su casa mañana: Grandma told us to go to have lunch to her house tomorrow.
  • Vamos a ir a la boda con mi hermana, mi mamá y la tita: We are going to the wedding with my sister, my mother and my Grandma.


As you can see we have many different nicknames to call your grandmother and communicate affection for her.

I know that many of these 14 ways to say grandma in Spanish don’t make much sense in English, but it makes total sense in Spanish.

That’s how native speakers say grandma in Spanish, and it’s important that you know those words so you can understand when they talk.

RELATED: How To Understand Conversation In Spanish: 5 Reliable Steps To Quickly Boost Your Listening Skills Dramatically

To sum-up, the most common and acceptable ways to say grandma in Spanish are:

  • Abuela
  • Abue
  • Mamita (in Colombia)

Depending on each country you may hear other words being popular too.

Other not so popular ways to say grandma in Spanish among natives that I feel need to be mentioned in this article are:

  • Nani
  • Tata
  • Nona
  • Gueli
  • Nena
  • Licha

Here’s an infographic I made, so you can quickly access this vocabulary.

Who knows… perhaps you’ll hear any of these words in your next trip to Colombia…

14 Common Ways To Say Grandma In Spanish - SpanishToMind (4)

Over to you: Do you know any other ways to say grandma in Spanish?

If you do, please let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to say in which region people use each expression:

14 Common Ways To Say Grandma In Spanish - SpanishToMind (2024)


What are Spanish nicknames for grandma? ›

Abuela. As any Spanish-speaking family knows, "abuela" or "abuelita" translates to "grandmother" in Spanish. You can also call grandma by a shorthand version, including "tita," "abbi," and "lita."

What do Hispanics call their grandmas? ›

Names for Hispanic Grandparents

Grandmothers are called Abuela or Abuelita. Shortened forms such as Lito and Lita or Tito and Tita are common.

What are cool grandma names? ›

50 Grandma Names
  • Memaw. This unique name for grandma is popular in the southern United States!
  • Nanny. Much like the popular nanny Mary Poppins, this is a perfect name for a grandma who is sensible and sweet.
  • Nonna. This quirky name means “grandma” in Italian.
  • Bubbe. ...
  • Abuela. ...
  • Glamma. ...
  • Lovey. ...
  • Lola.
21 Sept 2022

What do they call grandma in Cuba? ›

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!

What does Gigi mean for grandma? ›

Another popular subset of unique names are those that are derived from the (most often) grandmother's first name. So Gabby McCree is Gigi. “It's an abbreviation for 'Grandma Gabby' and also my initials growing up,” she says. (Her husband, Don, went with Pop Pop.)

What is the Spanish word for Nana? ›

1. (= abuela) grandma (informal) ⧫ granny (informal) see also año.

How do Mexicans say grandmother? ›

Abuela is the most standard way to say 'grandmother' in Spanish. Depending on the context and the sentence, this word can be translated either as grandmother or granma. 'Abuela' can be used either to refer to your grandmother or to address her directly. ¡Abuela!

How do you say grandmother in Puerto Rico? ›

#1 The exact translation for Grandma in Spanish: Abuela.

What is the most popular grandmother name? ›

Curious about our national findings? While Nana took the top spot, Grammy, Granny, Nanny, Mamaw, Mawmaw, Mimi, Grandmother, Memaw, and Abuela/Abuelita rounded out the top ten list.

What is a grandmother called in Africa? ›

In the Zulu language, grandmothers are called gogo, or ugogo. In Swahili it's bibi, in Sudanese, nini, and in Somali, ayeeyo. In the Igbo language of Nigeria, the word is nne nne.

What do Jamaicans call their grandmother? ›

Some grandparents have taken to a word they've heard while traveling abroad. "I know of one grandmother who has adopted the name, 'Mama,' which is Jamaican for 'grandmother,' and believe me, she's not Jamaican," said Christine Crosby, founder and publisher of Florida-based Grand magazine.

What do you call grandma in Ireland? ›

Ireland: Seanmháthair is Irish for grandmother, but Irish children are much more likely to use Maimeó or Móraí.

What do Texans call their grandma? ›

And if you live in the south, there's a good chance you call your grandmother Mamaw or Mawmaw—the most popular nickname in 7 states mostly in the south and along the Appalachians. Texas is the lone holdout for Mimi while folks in the Northeast prefer Grammie or Nana.

What are Italian grandparents called? ›

The most common way to say grandpa or grandfather in Italian is nonno (plural: nonni which can mean either grandpas or grandparents). Your paternal grandfather is your nonno paterno whereas your maternal grandfather is your nonno materno.

Does Nene mean grandmother? ›

In Turkish and other Turkic languages such as Crimean Tatar, Nene means "grandmother", and is also generally used as a nickname for elderly women. In Japanese, Nene is exclusively a feminine given name.

Does Mia mean grandma? ›

Mia: A grandmother whose own grandmother was named Amelia chose a shortened form to honor her. Of course, it helped that the first grandchild's middle name is Amelia, so the name is also a unique way of linking five generations.

What is grandmother in Sicilian? ›

How to Say "Grandma" & "Granddad" | Italian Lessons - YouTube

What is great grandmother Spanish? ›

Great grandmother is translated in Spanish by...

Mi bisabuela es una gran cocinera.

What do Spanish call their grandparents? ›

In Spain, as in most Spanish-speaking countries, grandparents are most often referred to with the formal titles of “abuela” (grandma) and “abuelo” (grandpa).

What does Ah Ma mean in Spanish? ›


How do you say grandma in Guadalajara? ›

We found 1 solutions for Grandma, In Guadalajara . The most likely answer for the clue is ABUELA.

What's the Scottish word for grandma? ›

-Scottish: In Scottish Gaelic, the word for grandma is “Seanmhair,” which means good mother. But other commonly used Scottish grandmother names include “Nana,” “Nanna,” “Mhamó” and “Mamó.” -Spanish: In Spanish, grandmothers are known as “Abuela” or “Abuelita.”

Is Gigi Ukrainian for grandma? ›

Ukrainians use Baba for grandmother and Gigi for grandfather.

What do Cajuns call their grandparents? ›

Memere & Pepere. These are very popular French Cajun nicknames for grandma and grandpa !

How do you say grandma in German? ›

Say "Grandma" & "Grandpa" in German | German Lessons - YouTube

What do kids call their grandma? ›

The 10 most common nicknames for grandma in the United States are: Nana. Grammy/Grammie. Granny/Grannie.

What do grandkids call their grandmother? ›

According to Name Nerd, the most popular nicknames for grandparents are Bubbe, Nana, Grandma, Granny, Gran, Gram, Grammy, Papa, Grandpa, Granda, Granddad, Gramps. Grandparent names come a very wide array. Many times, the names literally come from the mouth's of babes and they stick.

What do Spanish call their grandparents? ›

In Spain, as in most Spanish-speaking countries, grandparents are most often referred to with the formal titles of “abuela” (grandma) and “abuelo” (grandpa).

What is great grandmother Spanish? ›

Great grandmother is translated in Spanish by...

Mi bisabuela es una gran cocinera.

What is a Abuelita? ›

noun. granny [noun] a grandmother.

Does Mita mean grandma? ›

#9 Mamá + the grandma's name

Yes, “mamá” means mother, but that's also a nickname for grandmother. People who say this want to communicate that their grandmother is as respected and loved as their own mothers. This is actually how my mom refers to her grandmother when she talks about her.

How do Colombians say grandma? ›

Like the German oma and the Italian nonna, the Spanish abuela is a well-known name for a grandmother. It is sometimes shortened to abuelita, which literally means "little grandmother" and is often used as a term of affection. Abuelita is sometimes shortened to lita or litta.

What does LaLa mean for grandma? ›

Spanish "My mother-in-law didn't want to be called Grandma, so I made up the name LaLa for her," says one mom. "It's a combination of the last syllable of her name (Darla) and the last syllable of the Spanish word for Grandma (abuela).

What is Chulo Papi? ›

A direct translation of papi chulo from Spanish is “pimp daddy,” with papi being a diminutive form of “father” (and used like “baby”) and chulo meaning “pimp” but also “attractive,” “co*cky,” or “cool” in colloquial settings. Chulo alone has a storied history in American English.

What is a great Nan? ›

noun. a grandmother of one's father or mother.

What is an Italian great-grandmother called? ›

To create the word for great-grandmother, all you have to do is add the little word bis in front of nonna (bisnonna). Finally we have the expression Bello / Bella di nonna!

Does Abuelita mean in Spanish? ›

Translation of abuelita – Spanish–English dictionary

gran [noun] (British, informal) grandmother.

What does Lita mean in Spanish? ›

In Spanish Baby Names the meaning of the name Lita is: Diminutive of Dolores: Sorrow. From Maria de los Dolores (the Virgin Mary, or Mary of the Sorrows).

What is Abuelita Bonita? ›

beautiful grandma (colloquial)

Is Nestle Mexican? ›

Although Abuelita is made in Mexico, the company that owns the iconic hot cocoa brand is the Swiss Corporation Nestle. The mega-corporation has a near monopoly on the sweets industry, with popular sub-brands such as Crunch, Butterfinger, Raisinets and Wonka.

Why do Spanish people say mita? ›

Historians use the Hispanicized term mita to differentiate the system as it was modified and intensified by the Spanish colonial government, creating the encomienda system. Mit'a was effectively a form of tribute to the Inca government in the form of labor, i.e. a corvée.

What do Irish call their grandparents? ›

-Irish: In Gaelic, grandfather is “Seanathair,” which means “old father,” but other popular Irish grandfather names are “Daideó” and “Athair Críonna.” Most English-speaking children call their grandfathers “Grandad” or “Granda.”

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