Great or Grandaunt? What Do You Call Your Grandmother’s Sister

Elderly sisters making bunny ears
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What name best describes the siblings of your grandparents? Families are often confused between the term grandaunt and great aunt.

Your grandmother’s sister (or sister-in-law) is most correctly called your grandaunt.  However great aunt is the more commonly, although inaccurately, used term. Likewise your grandmother’s brother is your granduncle, or commonly great uncle.

Your grandaunt is your mother or father’s aunt, just as your grandparent is your mother or father’s parent.

Grandaunt or Great Aunt:  Which is more accurate?

The term “grand” is best applied to the siblings of your grandparents, as your grandparent and grandaunt are at the same generational level.

The term “great” is best reserved for the next older generation, for instance your great grandmothers sister would be your great grandaunt.

Grandaunts are part of your extended family, and are separated from you by two-generations; your parent, and then you.

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What is a Great Great Aunt then?

There really is no such thing as a great great aunt.  The accurate term is great great grandaunt — which would be your great great grandmother’s sister.

What should my children call my grandmother’s sister?

Technically, your grandmother’s sister is your child’s great grandaunt.

However, often families use a single name when referring to elderly family members.  For example, the great grandchildren may refer to your grandmother as “Grandma”, even though she is actually their great grandmother.

It maybe easier for both you and your children to refer to “Aunt Mary”, rather than using the more formal great grandaunt.

As children get older, help them visualize their family connections by drawing out a family tree.

Knowing they are surrounded by generations of family history helps them feel connected and supported through their extended family. Enjoy those grandaunts….your child and you are lucky to have them in your family!

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