Family Ties: What to Call Your Grandparents’ Siblings

Family Ties: What to Call Your Grandparents’ Siblings

Family relationships can sometimes be confusing, and when it comes to extended family members, things can become even more complicated. One particular question that often arises is what to call the siblings of one’s grandparents. Depending on the family culture and regional customs, there can be a variety of different names for these family members. In this article, we will delve into the different ways to refer to your grandparents’ siblings.

The Basics

When it comes to addressing family members, especially older generations, using the appropriate titles is essential. It is not only a sign of respect but can also foster a closer relationship. Often, people might use a more formal or honorific term than the usual name for their grandparents’ siblings. However, there are no hard and fast rules, and it often depends on the family and the region you come from.

Aunt and Uncle

One common way to refer to grandparents’ siblings is aunt or uncle. When grandparents had multiple siblings, sometimes a number was used. For example, Aunt Ruth could become Aunt Ruth 1 or Aunt Ruth 2 to differentiate her from her sisters. In some families, the aunts and uncles have preferred nicknames or alternative names rather than their formal names. For instance, an uncle might prefer to be called ‘Jimmy’ rather than ‘Uncle James.’

Great Aunt and Great Uncle

Using “great” in the title is one of the most common ways to address grandparents’ siblings. Great Aunt and Great Uncle is widely known and accepted, especially in North America. It is not uncommon for these titles to be shortened to “G-Aunt” or “G-Uncle” in conversation. If an individual has several great aunts and uncles, they can be distinguished from other family members by adding a number, e.g., Great Aunt Sally 1.

Niece/Nephew’s Aunt/Uncle

Another name for grandparents’ siblings is to refer to them as Aunt or Uncle, followed by their niece or nephew’s name. This approach can help distinguish them from other aunts and uncles in your life. For example, if your name is John and your grandparents’ sister is called Mary, you might call her Aunt Mary, John’s Aunt.

Regional Variations

Family terminology and culture can significantly vary regionally. Here are some regional variations on how to refer to grandparents’ siblings:

British English

In British English, the siblings of grandparents are known as “great-aunts” or “great-uncles.” It is not common to include the great before the names, although family cultures and conventions might vary.

Eastern European Languages

In Eastern European languages like Polish, Hungarian, Serbian, and Russian, there are numerous designations for grandparents’ siblings based on their age, gender, and relation to the speaker. The extensive inflectional systems of these languages can often produce multiple variations, depending on the context.

French Canadian

In French Canadian, grandparents’ siblings are often called “grands-oncles” and “grands-tantes,” which means “great uncles” and “great aunts.” It is a long-standing norm in French culture, and the terms are also widely used in Quebec.

Other Ways to Call Grandparents’ Siblings

Aside from the more common names mentioned above for grandparents’ siblings, there are other terms, including:

Cousin Aunt or Cousin Uncle

This title is occasionally used to address those related to the grandparent by blood or marriage but who are of the same generation.

Mentor or Godparent

Some people have such a close relationship with their grandparent’s sibling that they refer to them as mentors or godparents. Using these titles does not imply that they have a religious relationship or a formal godparenting role.

Nana or Papa

Some grandparents’ siblings might prefer to be called by nicknames like “Nana” or “Papa.” These terms of endearment reflect a closer bond with the person rather than a formal title.


We hope this article has been helpful in shedding light on the different names to call your grandparents’ siblings. There is no one right way, and it often depends on the family’s culture and traditions. Whatever title you choose, use it with love and respect.

List of Common Questions and Answers

  • How do I address my grandmother’s sister?
  • You can address her as Aunt (name) or Great Aunt (name), depending on your family’s culture and traditions.

  • What do I call my grandfather’s brother’s wife?
  • You can refer to her as Aunt (name) or Great Aunt (name), depending on your family’s culture and traditions.

  • What is an appropriate title for my grandparents’ siblings in French?
  • Grands-oncles (great uncles) and Grands-tantes (great aunts) are commonly used in French culture.

  • What is the English term for the siblings of my grandparents?
  • In North America, Great Aunt and Great Uncle is widely accepted, but other terms like Aunt and Uncle might be used depending on the family’s location and culture.


  1. Family Relationships Pro: What Do You Call Your Grandparents’ Siblings? Retrieved from
  2. BuzzFeed News. Retrieved from
  3. Inquisitr. Retrieved from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *