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If the other grandmother is “Grandma,” what ireland term have the right to you use?Posted by róislín top top Oct 24, 2016 in ireland Language


(le Róislín)

Inspired by a current comment from reader Rita C., who detailed that Irish has “so many options for irish grandmother names,” I thought this would certainly be a great time to review some of the terms. This blogpost will deal with grandmothers, and we’ll probably have actually a companion item for the grandfathers. Go raibh maith agat as scríobh isteach, a Rita!


Ní hí seo mo Mhamó. One í perform Mhamósa í? and also she’s no my meemaw or my abuela or mine oma or mine nonna, either! (source: archive.org, writer unknown (1860) every hubpages.com/education/red_riding_hood)


To me, one of the most exciting things around the “grandmother” and also “grandfather” terms is that they are completely different from the ireland words for “grandchild,” “granddaughter,” and “grandson.” there is no “grand-” element that’s held in common among all these words. Because that “grandmother” in the rather formal sense, there are three choices that us can add to “máthair” (mother) to develop “grandmother”: sean– (as a prefix), mór, and críonna. Climate there room two additional choices i m sorry are more familiar and much more likely to be offered by children: mamó and móraí. Neither of these two words is literally “grand-” anything.

You are watching: How to say grandma in irish

So exactly how do all of these words occupational in really speech? right here we’ll look at the actual combinations and also then at the indigenous in straight address, if you’re in reality talking to “grandmother” or “grandma.”

1) seanmháthair, grandmother, lit. Old mother

A Sheanmháthair!” in straight address

2) máthair chríonna, grandmother, lit. Way mother

A Mháthair chríonna!” in direct address

3) máthair mhór, grandmother, lit. An excellent or large mother. “Mór” can additionally be translated as “grand,” but it’s not “grand” together in the typical sense of “fine” or “elegant.” Those would be “breá” (fine) or “galánta” (elegant, stylish, genteel)

A Mháthair mhór!” in straight address

The staying two terms are an ext like speak “grandma,” or “granny,” or “nan,” or “nana.”

4) mamó , based on “mam” (mom, mum, mother), a parallel term come “daideo” because that “granddad.”

A Mhamó!” in straight address

This is the term offered in the charming children’s book, Bran agus a Mhamó, the irish translation of Spot Loves his Grandma, through Eric Hill. “Bran” is a standard dog’s name in Irish and also so replace instead instead “Spot” because that the puppy.

Another spelling for is native is “Maimeo,” through “A Mhaimeo” for direct address.

5) móraí Nóra” or “clocha móra.”

A Mhóraí!” in straight address

If youngsters are being elevated Irish-speaking, the direct address forms would certainly be natural. If the children are being increased English-speaking, words like “Mamó” and “Móraí” can be treated as names, and also not have the “M” come “Mh” change. So we could hear:

Seo bronntanas duit, a Mhamó!”

or the English equivalent:

“Here’s a current for you, Mamó!”

And similarly, for “Móraí”

Nollaig shona, a Mhóraí!”

and that English equivalent:

“Merry Christmas, Móraí!” or “Happy Christmas, Móraí”

And getting back to “grandchild,” “granddaughter,” and “grandson,” the vital word is “gar,” which way “near.” the also means “approximate,” although the sounds rather technical for talking around children.

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Hope this was useful. End the years, I’ve gained lots of requests for how to speak “grandmother” or “grandma” in Irish, regularly for Irish-American families in the unified States. This is specifically true when one granny has already appropriated “Grandma,” as such. The parents desire a native which mirrors their irish heritage and also yet is fairly easy to say. SGF — Róislín

PS: to read around the fate of among folklore’s most famous grandmothers, you might like to try “Clóicín Dearg (Cincinnati: another Language Press, 2001, ISBN 0922852553, which frequently retails for about $2.99.