great (great grandparent, great grandchild)


Senior Member
How do you express the great in great grandfather/grandmother and also great grandson/grandaughter?

In Welsh, for great grandparents we use hen "old", so hen daid/dad-cu "old grandfather", hen nain/fam-gu "old grandmother".

For great grandchildren we use gor- kind of like "over-", so gor-ŵyr "over-grandson", gorwyres "over-granddaughter".

For generations above and below, we repeat the word like in English great great: hen hen dad-cu "old old grandfather" or gororwyres "over-over-granddaughter".
  • spindlemoss

    Senior Member
    Some info I've also dug up on Scottish Gaelic:

    grandfather & grandmother: seanair (< seanathair "old father") & seanmhair (< seanmàthair "old mother")

    great grandfather/mother: sinn-seanair/seanmhair "old grandfather"

    great great grandfather: sinn-sinn-seanair/seanmhair "old old grandfather/mother"

    great great grandfather: sinn-sinn-sinn-seanair/seanmhair "old old old grandfather/mother"

    Pretty straightforward. There's also sinn-seachad-sinn-seanair/seanmhair "old past old grandfather/mother".

    Great grandkids are more interesting, and seem to involve colours:

    grandson: fear-ogha "male-grandchild"

    great grandson: iar-ogha "after-grandchild"

    great great grandson: fionn-ogha "fair-grandchild", ion-ogha "? fair-grandchild", gar-ogha "? near-grandchild"

    great great grandson: glas-ogha "green/grey/pale-grandchild"

    great great great grandson: dubh-ogha "black-grandchild"

    Sometimes the terms are combined: iar-dubh-ogha "great ...", iar-dubh-ogha "4 x great ...".

    For "granddaughters", the pattern is similar but uses ban- "female" e.g. ban-iar-ogha, ban-fhionn-ogha etc.


    Senior Member
    Japanese - Tokyo
    Formal expressions:
    • grandfather : 祖父 (そふ /sofu/), grandmother: 祖母 (そぼ /sobo/), grandchild: 孫 (まご /mago/)
    • great grand- : 曾祖父 (そうそふ /sō sofu/), 曾祖母 (そうそぼ /sō sobo/), 曾孫 (そうそん /sō son/)
    • great great grand- : 高祖父 (こうそふ /kō sofu/), 高祖母 (こうそぼ /kō sobo/), 玄孫 (げんそん /gen son/)
    Colloquial expressions:
    • grandfather: お爺さん (おじいさん /ojīsan/), お婆さん (おばあさん /obāsan/), 孫 (まご /mago/)
    • great grand-: 曾お爺さん (ひいおじいさん /hī ojīsan/), 曾お婆さん (ひいおばあさん /hī obāsan/), 曾孫 (ひまご /hi mago/ or ひいまご /hī mago/; compare with the formal version -- same characters, different pronunciation)
    • great great grand-: 曾曾お爺さん (ひいひいおじいさん /hīhī ojīsan/), 曾曾お婆さん (ひいひいおばあさん /hīhī obāsan/), 曾曾孫 (ひいひいまご /hīhī mago/)
    • after this, add a 曾 (ひい /hī/) for each preceding/subsequent generation.


    Senior Member
    grandfather = (il) nonno, grandmother = (la) nonna, grandson/grandaughter = (il/la) nipote
    great grandfather = (il) bisnonno, great grandmother = (la) bisnonna, great grandson/granaughter = (il/la) bisnipote or pronipote

    parents and sons/daughters = genitori e figli
    grandparents and grandchildren = nonni e nipoti
    great grandparents = bisnonni e bisnipoti
    great great grandparents = trisnonni or trisavoli e trisnipoti
    great great great grandparents = quadrisavoli e figli dei trisnipoti
    great great great great grandparents = genitori dei quadrisavoli e nipoti dei trisnipoti
    Last edited:


    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    French (lower Normandy)
    Nothing so colourful in French:
    "arrière" for everyone (but "grand" is different depending on what follows) : literally: back
    great-grandfather : arrière-grand-père
    great-grandson : arrière-petit-fils

    You can just repeat "arrière" as much as you like:
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Males, females


    +5: quadravi, quadràvia
    +4: rebesavi, rebesàvia
    +3: besavi, besàvia
    +2: avi, àvia
    +1: pare, mare
    0: jo ("me")
    -1: fill, filla
    -2: nét, néta
    -3: besnét, besnéta
    -4: rebesnét, rebesnéta
    -5: quadrinét, quadrinéta

    According to the new spelling reform, nét will be spelled net (and its derivates as well).


    +5: trastatarabuelo, trastatarabuela
    +4: tatarabuelo, tatarabuela
    +3: bisabuelo, bisabuela
    +2: abuelo, abuela
    +1: padre, madre
    0: yo "me"
    -1: hijo, hija
    -2: nieto, nieta
    -3: bisnieto, bisnieta
    -4: tataranieto, tataranieta
    -5: trastataranieto, trastataranieta / chozno, chozna


    I had to look for the terms for the 5th degree of relationship, they aren't much known.

    In colloquial speech, "great-great-great-great-...-grandfather" is rererere...besavi in Catalan and tataratataratataratatara...abuelo in Spanish.


    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    In Portuguese, using the Spanish template:

    +5: I don't know how to say this, maybe tataratataravô, tataratataravó
    +4: tataravô, tataravó
    +3: bisavô, bisavó
    +2: avô, avó
    +1: pai, mãe
    0: eu "me"
    -1: filho, filha
    -2: neto, neta
    -3: bisneto, bisneta
    -4: tataraneto, tataraneta
    -5: I don't know how to say this, maybe tataratataraneto, tataratataraneta


    Senior Member

    Grandfather: «Παππούς» [paˈpus] (masc.) < Byz.Gr masc. «παπποῦς» pappoûs (idem) < Classical masc. «παππίας» păppías --> grandfather, ancestor (onomatopoeic, from «πάππα» pắppă a reduplicated nursery word).
    Grandmother: «Γιαγιά» [ʝaˈʝa] (fem.) < reduplicated nursery word (alt. dialectal var. «νόννη» [ˈnoni] (fem.), «νόνα» [ˈnona] (fem.), «λαλά» [laˈla] (fem.), «μάμμη» [ˈmami] (fem.) etc).
    (a) «Εγγονός» [eŋgoˈnos] (masc.) --> grandson
    (b) «Εγγονή» [eŋgoˈni] (fem.) --> grand-daughter
    (c) «Εγγόνια» [eŋˈgoɲa] (neut. nom. pl.) --> grandchildren.
    They're Hellenistic nouns: Koine «ἔγγονος» éŋgŏnŏs (masc.) & «ἐγγόνη» ĕŋgónē (fem.) --> (masc.) grandson, (fem.) grand-daughter < Classical «ἔκγονος» ékgŏnŏs (masc. & fem.) --> offspring, descendant with assimilation («ἐκγ-» > «ἐγγ-») < compound; Classical prefix, preposition, and adverb «ἐκ» ĕk (which becomes «ἐξ» ĕk͡s when the next word begins with a vowel) --> out (PIE *h₁eǵʰs-/*h₁eḱs- out cf Lat. ex/ex- out of, from) + noun «γόνος» gónŏs (masc.) --> birth, offspring ablaut of the action noun «γένος» génŏs (neut.) (PIE *ǵenh₁-os-/ǵnh₁-os- offspring cf Skt. जन (jána), creature, race, Old Persian zana, tribe, man, Lat. nātiō, nation, race < Proto-Italic *gnātiō).
    -In general we add the prefix «προ-» [pro-] < Classical adverb, prefix, and preposition «πρό» pró --> forth, forward, before (PIE *pro- forward cf Skt. प्र- (pra-), in front, forth, Av. fra-, Lat. pro-) for further generation of ancestry:
    «Προπάππους» [proˈpapus] (masc.) --> great-grandfather, «προ-προπάππους» [pro-proˈpapus] (masc.) --> great-great-grandgather etc.
    The same rule applies to grandmother: «Προγιαγιά» [proʝaˈʝa] (fem.) --> great-grandmother, «προ-προγιαγιά» [pro-proʝaˈʝa] (fem.) --> great-great-grandmother etc.
    -For further generation of descent we add the prefix twice-, thrice (and in theory ever frice):
    «Δισέγγονος» [ðiˈseŋgonos] (masc.) --> great-grandson (lit. twice-grandson the prefix «δισ-» is cognate with the Lat. bis-).
    «Δισέγγονη» [ðiˈseŋgoni] (fem.) --> great-grand-daughter (lit. twice-grand-daughter).
    «Τρισέγγονος» [triˈseŋgonos] (masc.) --> great-great-grandson (lit. thrice-grandson the prefix «τρισ-» is cognate with the Lat. trī-).
    Last edited:


    Senior Member

    Grandfather: isoisä < iso "big" + isä "father".
    Grandmother: isoäiti < iso "big" + äiti "mother".

    Isoisoisä, isoisoäiti, great grandfather/mother.

    Grandkids are simply lapsenlapsi "child's-child", pojanpoika "son's-son", pojantytär "son's-daughter", tyttärenpoika "daughter's-son", tyttärentytär "daughter's-daughter".


    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    In Swedish, there is a particular premodifier "gammel-" (=old) but it's only used to describe your parents' grandparents. In other cases, words for parents or children are compounded to show the exact relationship, with a genitive suffix -s thrown in at specific intervals... I'll use the Spanish template , although I expect it will get messy! :eek: Abbreviations: p=paternal, father's side; m=maternal, mother's side. Aunts and uncles not included! Start reading from level 0 or you'll be lost!

    +5: farfars farfars far, farfars farfars mor, etc (exact relationships)
    +4: farfars farfar, farfars farmor, farmors farfar, farmors farmor etc; farfars farföräldrar, farfars morföräldrar (exact relationships or combined with grandparents)
    +3: gammelfarfar, -morfar, -farmor, -mormor (i.e. the grandparents of any of your parents). Alternatively: farfars far, farfars mor, morfars far, morfars mor, farmors far, farmors mor, mormors far, mormors mor (exact relationships, i.e. paternal grandfather's father etc.)
    +2: farfar, morfar, farmor, mormor, farföräldrar, morföräldrar (lit. father's father, mother's father etc, i.e. p grandfather, m grandfather, p grandparents, m grandparents)
    +1: far, mor, föräldrar (father, mother, parents)
    0: jag (me)
    -1: son, dotter, barn (son, daughter, child/children)
    -2: sonson, sondotter, dotterson, dotterdotter; barnbarn (son's son, son's daughter etc; grandchild/-children)
    -3: sonsons son, sonsons dotter etc; barnbarns barn (exact relationships; great grandchildren)
    -4: sonsons sonson etc; barnbarns barnbarn (exact relationships; great great grandchildren)
    -5: sonsons sonsons son etc; barnbarns barnbarns barn (exact relationships; great great great grandchildren)


    Senior Member
    In German it is (relatively) simple. The nominal prefix Ur-* precedes the adjective groß ('great', 'grand', 'big'):

    +3: Urgroßvater, Urgroßmutter
    +2: Großvater, Großmutter
    +1: Vater, Mutter
    0: ich "me"
    -1: Sohn, Tochter
    -2: Enkelsohn, Enkeltochter
    -3: Urenkel (-sohn/-tochter)

    can be repeated:

    +4: Ururgroßvater, Ururgroßmutter
    +5: Urururgroßvater, Urururgroßmutter

    (väterlicherseits 'paternal' and mütterlicherseits 'maternal' can be added, but this is optional)

    * In modern German, the prefix ur- is rarely used (another example would be uralt, 'ancient', 'extremely old', where ur- seems to intensify the adjective alt, 'old'). According to, ur was a preposition in Old High German meaning something like 'out of...', perhaps comparable to ur in Swedish and úr in Icelandic.


    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)

    +5: praprapraděd, prapraprabába
    +4: prapraděd, praprabába
    +3: praděd, prabába
    +2: děd, bába
    +1: otec, matka < máti
    *0*: já
    -1: syn, dcera < dci
    -2: vnuk, vnučka
    -3: pravnuk, pravnučka
    -4: prapravnuk, prapravnučka

    praotec, pramáti = forefather, foremother (Adam & Eve)

    The prefix pra- can be repeated, it corresponds to the German ur- (uralt = prastarý, [Pilsner] Urquell = Prazdroj).
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Tagalog: grandfather- Lolo(h), great grandfather- lolo sa tuhod, great great grandfather- kalolo- lolohan, greatgrandparent- kanunu- nunuan. Grandchildren- apo(h), great grandchildren- apo sa tuhod, great great grandchildren- ka apu apuhan.


    Senior Member

    баба - grandmother
    прабаба - great-grandmother
    чукунбаба, прапрабаба - great-great-grandmother

    внука - granddaughter
    правнука - great-granddaughter
    чукунвнука, праправнука - great-granddaughter

    The same goes for grandfathers and grandsons - I have chosen the female forms arbitrarily. So, Macedonian has a symmetrical system, insofar as the same suffixes are used both when counting up the family tree and down it.

    Anyhow, the prefix "пра-" is cognate to the Czech one, and as pointed out by bibax, it parallels German "ur-". Some examples that are different than the ones bibax has provided: "прашума", "rainforest" (cf. German "Urwald), and "праживотно", "protozoon" (cf. German "Urtier"). I don't know anything about the prefix "чукун-". It doesn't have any other uses that I'm aware of. Also, it sounds folksy.

    For further generations, one keeps repeating the "пра-". If there are too many "пра-"'s, one can use them as multiples, and say things like "my great-grandmother's great-grandmother".


    Senior Member
    In Hungarian we don't repeat "great", we have special prefixes:

    apa = father
    anya = mother

    +5: szépapa, szépanya
    +4: ükapa, ükanya
    +3: dédapa, dédanya
    +2: nagyapa, nagyanya
    +1: apa, anya
    *0: én (me)
    -1: fiú, lány
    -2: unoka
    -3: dédunoka
    -4: ükunoka
    -5: szépunoka

    The primary meaning of the prefix "szép" is "beautiful".:)
    The prefix "ük" is an old word of Finno-Ugric origin, originally meaning "old woman".
    "Déd" is a Slavic loan (= grandfather, old man).
    "Nagy" means "big/great".
    "Unoka" for "grandchild" is a Slavic loanword.


    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    Sardinian :

    • grandfather = su jàju (pronounce yàyu), su nonnu (from Greek "nonós" = godfather; because in origin the grandfather was usually also the godfather)
    • grandmother = sa jàja, sa nonna
    • grandson/grandaughter = su nepóde, nebóde (male), sa netta (female)
    • great grandfather = su bisnonnu (loadword from Italian)
    • parents and sons/daughters = genitores e fizos (or in metaphorical way "mannos e minores" = big and little)
    • grandparents and grandchildren = jàjos/nonnos e nepódes
    < Previous | Next >