How to Say Grandma in German - Show Your Granny Some LOVE!
The Germans say Einige Dinge verändern sich nicht. It means that some things never change. Grandmother’s love for her grandchildren never changes and never fails as well. German Großmütter are no exceptions to this rule.
If you want to master the German language, you should spend as much time as you can around native speakers. If you already have German friends, the odds are that you will meet the grandma soon, too. Learn how to say grandma in the German language and get in her good books from day one.
How to Say Grandma in the German Language
The English rather formal grandmother is (die) Großmutter in German. It is pronounced [ˈɡʀoːsˌmʊtɐ] (IPA). However, like in English, one would normally use it when talking about someone else’s grandmother. When you talk about (or to) your own, there are better options to choose from.
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Names for Grandma in German
The most common name the Germans use when they address their grandmothers is (die) Oma. Its pronunciation is [ˈˈoːma] in the IPA transcription. Similarly, you would call your grandfather Opa.
Other Nicknames for Grandmas in the German Language
- (die) Omama
Especially small children call their granny Omama. It is derived from Oma we have mentioned above. The word probably has its origin in “older mama.”
- (die) Omi
This word is used in similar situations like (die) Omama. It is mostly reserved for children. Still, it is no shame to address your grandma as Omi even if you are an adult.
Let’s take a look at an example: Seit kurzem ist meine Omi sehr vergesslich. – My grandma is very forgetful nowadays. Using the diminutive in this simple utterance makes it clear that you care about your granny very much.
- (die) Großmama
Großmama is derived from Großmutter. It is another colloquial name you can use when addressing your German grandmother. Can you guess what its equivalent for grandfather is? Read on, and you will find out whether you have guessed it right.
Using Grandma Nicknames in Example Sentences
Now you have learned the most common translations of grandmother into German. Let’s take a look at some examples to practice the language some more.
- Das haben meine Oma und meine Mutti immer gesagt. – My grandma and my mom used to say this all the time.
These nicknames show that you care about these two essential women in your life very much. Even if the actual thing that reminded you of them might have annoyed you in the past.
- Komm und gib der Omama einen Kuss! – Come give granny a kiss!
Our grandparents usually spoil us rotten. Some seem to believe it is their duty. And sometimes they just want to swoop in for a big sloppy kiss. Just indulge them! You are probably their favorite person in the world.
- Eine Großmutter im Haus – ein Schatz im Haus.
It is an old saying and can be loosely translated to “A grandmother at home – a treasure at home.”
- Ich bin in großen Schwierigkeiten, Omi. – I’m in big trouble, grams.
She loves you no matter what. Knowing that you can open your heart to her is reassuring.
If you want to learn German as a non-native speaker, you usually focus on the so called Hochdeutsch, which is its standard form. However, there are many regional differences in, for example, Swiss or Low German.
- In Swiss German, the most used word for grandma is Grosi.
- In Low German, it is Grootmoder for grandmother and Groosma or Groosmutta for grandma.
Which Side of the Family
We usually have two grandmothers and two grandfathers – from the mother’s and father’s side of the family. If you need to specify which side it is, use mütterlicherseits for “maternal” and “väterlicherseits” for “paternal.”
Grandparents are translated as Großeltern, so you would say Großeltern mütterlicherseits for maternal grandparents and Großeltern väterlicherseits for paternal grandparents.
How to Translate Great-Grandmother into German
Some of us might even have great-grandparents. With the world population getting older, it isn’t such a rare thing nowadays. The German translation is simple. Just add the prefix Ur-.
Urgroßmutter means great-grandmother, and Uroma is great-grandma. Similarly, you can form Urgroßvater for great-grandfather and Uropa for great-grandpa.
Let’s take a look at some example sentences.
- Ich heiße Greta, wie meine Urgroßmutter. – I am called Greta after my great-grandmother.
- Ich fühle mich in die Welt unserer Urgroßeltern zurück versetzt. – I feel like having stepped back into the world of our great-grandparents.
If you want to go back a generation, just double the prefix Ur-, such as Ururgroßmutter for great-great-grandmother.
How to Translate Grandpa into German
Grandpas are as important as their female counterparts. We can’t forget about them. Let’s sum up the most important information on how to say grandpa in the German language.
- Großvater means grandfather. It’s quite formal, so the most used word for grandpa in Germany is Opa.
- The equivalent of the diminutive Omama is, unsurprisingly, Opapa.
- In Low German, it is Grootvader for grandfather. In Switzerland, they say Grosspapa or Grosspapi. Großpapa is used in standard German as well.
- If you want to talk about the previous generation, use the prefix Ur-. Say Urgroßvater or Uropa.
Let’s take a look at a couple of example sentences with grandfather or grandpa:
- Mein Großvater mütterlicherseits ist bereits verstorben. – My Grandfather on my mother’s side has already passed away.
- Unser Opa hat uns diese Geschichte erzählt. – Our grandpa told us the story.
- Sein Opa mag es, jeden Tag einen Spaziergang zu machen. – His grandpa likes to take a walk every day.
- Jakobs Urgroßvater ist über 100 Jahre alt. – Jacob’s great-grandfather is over 100 years old.
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Grandmothers are special, especially to their grandchildren. By the way, grandchildren are translated as Enkelkinder. Granddaughter is (die) Enkelin and grandson is (der) Enkel.
There is a nice poem about grandmothers by Norbert van Tiggelen. It is called Beste Oma, and here is a link. Try to read and translate it. It is not too hard. If you have any difficulties or questions, let us know in the comments below!