grand·fa·ther | \ˈgran(d)-ˌfä-t͟hər \

Definition of grandfather 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

b : ancestor sense 1a


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

The secretary of the Navy added US Sen. John McCain’s name Thursday to a warship that had already been named for the Arizona lawmaker’s father and grandfather, both former Navy admirals. Ken Moritsugu,, "US Navy dedicates Japan-based destroyer to McCain," 13 July 2018 The most enjoyable part of the first two films was how every nerve in Dracula's batty body was stretched to the limit by being a single father and grandfather. Rick Bentley,, "'Hotel Transylvania 3' review: Monsters aboard the Love Boat," 12 July 2018 The big question is whether Mr. Kim is truly ready to change course or playing for time with Mr. Trump — as his father and grandfather did with the past four presidents. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "How Trump Went From ‘Fire and Fury’ to Dismissing North Korean Nuclear Advances," 4 July 2018 Steven also loved music and enjoyed fishing trips to Maine with his father and grandfather. Hartford Courant,, "Steven S. Brooks," 3 July 2018 Unlike his father and grandfather, Prince William will be arriving in Jerusalem at the request of Her Majesty’s government. Washington Post, "Israelis, Palestinians await William’s inaugural royal visit," 23 June 2018 The payoff for that Machiavellian maneuvering came when Trump met Kim in Singapore, giving the North Korean a degree of legitimacy his father and grandfather never achieved. Charlie Campbell/singapore, Time, "Kim Jong Un Is Showing the World Just How Much Power He Has," 14 June 2018 For Kim, about half Trump's age and representing the third generation of North Korea's ruling dynasty, the summit affords both him and his long-isolated country the international legitimacy his father and grandfather could only dream of. Robert Birsel, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump, Kim launch historic Singapore summit with a handshake," 12 June 2018 Both my father and my grandfather had been imprisoned by Tito’s communist dictatorship in Yugoslavia. Al Saracevic,, "In this case, it’s OK to root for a team," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Nevada was grandfathered in when the law was passed in 1992. NBC News, "Supreme Court allows sports betting across the country," 14 May 2018 Current students would be grandfathered into the plan, meaning no current student would change schools. Jesse Wright,, "Elmhurst school board agrees on boundary plan for District 205 upgrade project," 29 June 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

19 Oct 2018

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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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