grand·​fa·​ther | \ ˈgran(d)-ˌfä-t͟hər How to pronounce grandfather (audio) \

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 How to pronounce grandfatherly (audio) \ 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

Kalie Rinhart comes from a long line of people who earned the Eagle honor in the Boy Scouts of America — her grandfather, father, uncle and older brother. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Pearland all-girl Scouts BSA troop proud to blaze new trail," 10 July 2019 The family of the baby girl, who reportedly slipped out of her grandfather’s hands and fell to her death from a docked cruise ship over the weekend, is struggling to come to terms with the unimaginable tragedy. Joelle Goldstein,, "Family 'in Shock' After Baby Apparently Slips from Grandfather's Hands & Falls from Cruise Ship," 9 July 2019 The 18-month-old girl was playing with her grandfather in a dining hall on deck 11 of the Freedom of the Seas, Port Authority spokesman José Carmona said. Amanda Watts, CNN, "A toddler died after falling from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico," 8 July 2019 Lim was 12 and living in the Chicago area when both of her grandfathers passed away. Alexander Oleksyn, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Suejin: Running, writing help teen exercise need for control," 27 June 2019 Owner Sheila Arsenault grew up spending weekends in her grandfather’s cabin, and always dreamed of living in the woods. Tiffany Thornton, USA TODAY, "Geodesic domes bring nature’s beauty indoors," 21 June 2018 According to Richard, the Phelps Mansion was a rambling farmhouse in his grandfather’s day; Fred Kluckhuhn raised cows and chickens and sold milk and cow manure door-to-door after the stock market crashed at the onset of the Depression. Patti Restivo, Howard County Times, "A classsic reborn," 1 June 2018 One of his grandfather’s colleagues at the state foreign-language press translated Hindi books into Chinese. Laura Dean, The New Yorker, "The Threat of War Brings New Fears to an American Hostage in Iran," 24 June 2019 Victim’s parents declined transport by Bellaire FD Medic 41 and the victim was released to her grandfather. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

State Farm stopped writing policies for homes in the two highest-risk lava zones in the 1990s, but the company grandfathered-in any existing policies, said Kim Silva, a State Farm sales executive in Hawaii. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, USA TODAY, "Worried Hawaii homeowners want to know: Am I covered if a volcano burns down my house?," 15 May 2018 City officials, though, correctly point out that those two businesses were grandfathered into the city’s existing ordinances., "Mobile revokes business license from strip club operator," 11 June 2019 The few dozen residents already legally running such rentals in their neighborhoods would be grandfathered in once the new regulations go into effect. Faith E. Pinho,, "Laguna Beach bans Airbnb and other short-term rentals from residential areas but will grandfather in existing units," 5 June 2019 Current plans will be grandfathered in, the official said. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "New Trump Administration Rule to Expand Access to Health Plans Without ACA Protections," 19 June 2018 The move will apply to employers that sign new contracts after Jan. 1, 2020, but UnitedHealth will grandfather in existing clients that chose a different setup. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "UnitedHealth to Require Drug Rebates Go to Consumers," 12 Mar. 2019 While existing wells would be grandfathered in, the rapid decline of unconventional oil and gas production could hurt companies’ expansion plans and, according to some, reduce production. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Latest Peril for Oil Companies: Colorado Voters," 21 Oct. 2018 About a year ago, Dropbox grandfathered paying customers with the standard offering into the more advanced plan. Micah Maidenberg, WSJ, "Dropbox Shares Fall on Operating Officer’s Planned Exit," 9 Aug. 2018 By buying flood insurance now, officials say, policy holders would be grandfathered in and subject to only gradual increases once new maps are established. David W. Chen, New York Times, "In New York, Drawing Flood Maps Is a ‘Game of Inches’," 7 Jan. 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

13 Jul 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 How to pronounce grandfather (audio) , 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).


something desired as essential

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