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

His grandfather took full control of the company when Blackburne died in 1968; eventually, it was passed on to Jim’s father, Burns Bintliff. Emma Baccellieri,, "Mud Maker: The Man Behind MLB’s Essential Secret Sauce," 7 Aug. 2019 For years, the rumor existed that Adolf Hitler's paternal grandfather was Jewish, but the claim went unsubstantiated. Fox News, "Hitler's secret history revealed: Study suggests Nazi leader's grandfather was Jewish," 6 Aug. 2019 One leading possibility was Harold, which is inspired by her late grandfather on her mom's side. Htv National Desk, Houston Chronicle, "George W. Bush shares adorable family photos with new grandson, Hal," 6 Aug. 2019 So could your grandfather have worked on this project as well? Paula Allen,, "Mystery of cannonball found at San Antonio’s La Villita in 1939 remains unsolved," 3 Aug. 2019 Mike Yastrzemski may have 442 fewer career home runs than his grandfather, but the Giants’ outfielder launched a 472-foot blast Friday night against the Rockies at Coors Field was reminiscent of grandather Carl’s longballs in his prime. Brandon Chase,, "Watch Mike Yastrzemski hit a 472-foot home run against the Rockies," 3 Aug. 2019 He was born in Bethel, Connecticut, in 1810, and named for his maternal grandfather. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, "What P. T. Barnum Understood About America," 29 July 2019 That's a far cry from your grandfather's 60/40 stock/bond portfolio. Ben Carlson, Fortune, "Why WeWork Embodies Everything You Need to Know About Investor Sentiment Right Now," 25 July 2019 Creed Humphrey, an offensive lineman for OU, said that his grandfather melted down some of his late wife’s gold jewelry to make Humphrey a pendant with his football number: 56. Lynda Gonzalez, Dallas News, "Off the field, these athletes flaunt a strong accessory game," 20 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The area is zoned for residential development but because the property already was being used for other purposes those uses were grandfathered in making it a legal non-conforming use under zoning rules. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cell tower debate and approval leads to code compliance investigation in Escondido," 24 July 2019 Some existing tenants like Bank of America were grandfathered in and allowed to stay. Roland Li,, "Chain store bans in San Francisco leave more shops empty, critics say," 7 July 2019 However, the agency also grandfathered in companies that entered the contracting program before the rule change, including firms that were the subject of The Times’ investigation. Adam Elmahrek,, "Native American minority contracts are under scrutiny as officials vow strict enforcement," 2 July 2019 But this point, Brady should just be grandfathered in to the Madden 99 club. Troy L. Smith,, "Madden 20 ratings: Biggest snubs from the 99 club," 15 July 2019 Transgender service members who currently are serving and come out to the military could face discharge, Mr. Minter said, while an openly transgender service member would be grandfathered in and allowed to serve. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "Supreme Court Allows Trump Administration to Implement Transgender Restrictions in Military," 22 Jan. 2019 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

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

10 Aug 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).


a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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