grand·​fa·​ther | \ ˈgran(d)-ˌfä-t͟hər \

Definition of grandfather

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the father of one's father or mother


grandfathered; grandfathering; grandfathers

Definition of grandfather (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to permit to continue under a grandfather clause

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Other Words from grandfather


grandfatherly \ ˈgran(d)-​ˌfä-​t͟hər-​lē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for grandfather

Synonyms: Noun

ancestor, father, forebear (also forbear), forebearer, forefather, primogenitor, progenitor

Antonyms: Noun

descendant (also descendent)

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Examples of grandfather in a Sentence


this tradition has been passed down from our pioneer grandfathers

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On the 25th anniversary of her grandfather George V's first message, Elizabeth's address made its television debut. Katie Frost, Town & Country, "How the Queen's First Televised Christmas Broadcast Changed the Royal Family Forever," 25 Dec. 2018 One of my favorite photos of my grandfather shows him at the race track wearing a black tuxedo and top hat, his trademark monocle on his nose, buttery leather gloves clasped in his hand. András Szántó, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Budapest Is Europe's Unlikely Capital of Hedonism," 29 Aug. 2018 Pops of fabric are the exact shade of his grandfather’s favorite turbans (marigold). Kaitlin Phillips, Vogue, "Green River Project LLC Debuts Elegant, Lounge-Ready Furniture Alongside Bode’s Menswear," 11 July 2018 Charles, of course, is in honor of the baby boy’s grandfather, Prince Charles. Simon Perry,, "Prince Charles Just Had Something Special Named in His Honor (in Addition to Baby Louis, of Course!)," 2 July 2018 Another 17-year-old says she has been placed on numerous psychotropic medications for which ORR has not received the consent of her grandfather, who is her closest U.S. relative. Graham Kates, CBS News, "5 immigrant children file complaint over detention, alleged forced medication," 2 July 2018 Those pants are straight out of your grandfather’s closet in 1974, and tucking a t-shirt into them was a bold choice, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise given Westbrook’s fashion history. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Russell Westbrook's pants were the star of Paul George's OKC announcement," 1 July 2018 Police initially believed the shooter abducted Brajaean after the robbery of her grandfather. Glenn E. Rice And Joe Robertson, kansascity, "Kansas City teen, sought in Amber Alert, charged with robbing girl's grandfather," 25 June 2018 Everywhere there are little reminders of Finn’s grandfather, all of them traceable to the objects in that ghostly office. John Lithgow, New York Times, "Grandmas and Grandpas Are a Kid’s Natural Allies in These Books," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Through Week 3 of this season, about 40 were still in use that were grandfathered in. Rob Maaddi, The Seattle Times, "NFL wants players to play with a free mind," 16 Oct. 2018 Banning was grandfathered into the old price but Tesla's website wasn't set up for that. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Tesla pulled the “full self-driving” option—here’s what customers think," 25 Oct. 2018 Some members of the audience said knowing which students will be grandfathered in to the existing school attendance areas without knowing where the new boundaries will be does not ease any of their uncertainty or concern. Kimberly Fornek,, "Hinsdale District 86 discusses which students may choose a high school outside new attendance areas," 10 July 2018 In 2016, all OG, pre-2014 customers who were grandfathered in to the new Standard plan at $7.99 per month were finally forced to pay the same $9.99 as everyone else. Madeline Buxton,, "Netflix's Ultra Subscription Could Be Its Most Expensive Plan Yet," 5 July 2018 The family room below is actually part of an addition that was grandfathered in before Contreras purchased the home. Lisa Van Loo, azcentral, "Phoenix Coronado house renovation: Lofts, beams and Notorious B.I.G. wallpaper," 7 June 2018 At the time, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the city, though still studying the issue, thought its rules would be grandfathered in as they were approved ahead of the state law. Ryan Gillespie,, "Company files lawsuit challenging Orlando's medical marijuana rules," 26 Mar. 2018 Those on the leagues’ side pointed to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal law that prohibited sports betting in all states except the four grandfathered in: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Supreme Court to tackle immigration, voting rights, unions: A look at major cases on justices' agenda," 27 June 2018 The law also added a strict need formula that would make adding any additional new trauma centers beyond those grandfathered in more difficult. Elizabeth Koh, miamiherald, "Nicklaus Children's Hospital challenges law allowing trauma center without full review | Miami Herald," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grandfather.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grandfather


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1953, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for grandfather

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grandfather

The first known use of grandfather was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for grandfather



English Language Learners Definition of grandfather

: the father of your father or mother


grand·​fa·​ther | \ ˈgrand-ˌfä-t͟hər, ˈgran-\

Kids Definition of grandfather

1 : the father of someone's father or mother
2 : ancestor His grandfathers had all farmed the land.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of grandfather

: to permit to continue under a grandfather clause current residents will be grandfathered under the regulation often used with in

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Comments on grandfather

What made you want to look up grandfather? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by shyness and lack of polish

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