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

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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


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 strangersMi 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 messLa 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.

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#14 Tita

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