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Where does "Nan" come from?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Malcolm Report 29 Jul 2013 08:18

There's a daft Scottish song which goes:

"Ye canny shove yer Granny aff a bus
oh! ye canny shove yer Granny aff a bus
Ye canny shove yer Granny
'cos she's yer Mammy's Mammy
Ye canny shove yer Granny aff a bus!"

I think William Wordsworth wrote it. :-D

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 29 Jul 2013 09:10

We had two grandmas. We called them both grandma followed by their surname to differentiate between them when talking about them . To their face they were just grandma as they were never together .

Our daughter tho decided her grandmas were nanny but she put their surnames before nanny so she knew which was which. ie Taylor nanny etc She had very close relationships with both of them .

I am known as Nan to both our adult grandchildren and Big Nan to our grt grandchildren. Not big as In large ! Lol but big in the higher hierarchy


Persephone Report 29 Jul 2013 12:00

My cousins gran was called Nana and when the first born great grandchild could talk they wondered what they would do as her daughter was now Nana... and one day when Scott was little his great grandmother dropped something and went to pick it up and she said oh what a duffer Nana is... from that day on she became Duffer Nana.

I am Nan or Nana; to one lot of grandchildren their other Nana is Nana Connie.. and to the other family the other Nana is Nan Anne.



GlasgowLass Report 29 Jul 2013 12:12

2nd verse Malcolm...

Ye can shove yer other Granny aff a bus,
Ye can shove yer other granny aff a bus
Ye can shove yer other Granny
'cos she's yer Daddy's Mammy
Ye can shove yer other Granny aff a bus


AmazingGrace08 Report 29 Jul 2013 13:07

Interesting thread, I had a Grandma and a Nana, both were Scottish.

My child calls her grandmothers both Nanny followed by their first names.

MInd you when she was three she called one of her grandpa's nanny as well and told everyone that she had two nanny's that lived together..caused a few raised eyebrows that I had to explain at a mother's day morning tea!


GlasgowLass Report 29 Jul 2013 13:23

My niece was about 3years old and insisted that she had White Granny and a Blue Granny!

The white one was her paternal grandmother, but the blue one ( blue rinsed hair) was the grandmother's older sister!


CupCakes Report 29 Jul 2013 19:34

Kids used to call me mumsie.

I opted for Nana - grandma seemed so ageing and a bit old fashioned.
Nana is sort of warm and cuddly

The grandchildren used to call their maternal gr/gran - more-nana - RIP


Cynthia Report 29 Jul 2013 20:33

I am a Nana and proud to be so called..... :-D


SylviaInCanada Report 29 Jul 2013 20:40

Cyn ..............

you'd better not read my earlier post then :-D :-D

It reminds me too much of the dog in Peter Pan :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D


Cynthia Report 29 Jul 2013 21:41

I don't mind shoulders are broad..... :-D


Linda Report 29 Jul 2013 21:45

When my forst grandchild was born she had 5 Great Grandparents and 4 Grandparents.

She worked out who was who Gran and Grampa, Nan and Papa

The GG are Grampa Christian name and Gran Christian name etc and she never gets mixed up knows exactly who she is talking about :-)


TootyFruity Report 29 Jul 2013 22:32

my Grandmother was Nan and my son called my Mum Nanny Bubbles, because she always carried with her pots of bubbles which he loved. I guess initially he was just asking for bubbles but it stuck as her name. Now he is an adult he just calls her Nan

His other Grandma is Nanny.

I don't think it really matters what name grandchildren refer to their grandmothers as long as the name is delivered with love and that love is reciprocated. :-)


MarieCeleste Report 29 Jul 2013 22:39

TootyFruity, your last sentence hits the nail on the head. Whatever names are used for grandparents within a family are what are important to that family and is of no consequence to anyone else.


TootyFruity Report 29 Jul 2013 22:45

:-D :-D :-D


Linda Report 29 Jul 2013 22:53

I agree TootyFruity :-D :-D :-D


SylviaInCanada Report 30 Jul 2013 00:14


I also agree :-D :-D :-D :-D


CupCakes Report 30 Jul 2013 12:03

Think the advert & YouTube - Shreddies Knitting Nanas has a lot to answer for the sudden popularity in UK.

All the Nanas actresses are warm & cuddly looking just like the are perceived to be.

:-D :-D


Malcolm Report 30 Jul 2013 19:37

Smashing comments from all. I think what comes out of this is that the practice continues that familiar names are generated within the family based on tradition and experience. There is a great warmth in the names "Nan" and "Mam", "Pop and Gramps". More formal expressions such as "Grandmama" are just too Victorian.

I particularly enjoyed "Blue Granny" Ha ha ha.

I have recently seen an article on Scotlands People regarding "Tee Names", meaning Nicknames given to people within a family, especially numerous families.

I'll be glad to see more Granny / Nan names. :-)


SylviaInCanada Report 31 Jul 2013 01:33

I'm not sure that Nana is a "new" thing ........................

I have a cousin born in the mid-1940s who always called her grandmother "Nana" ........... and still does, although my aunt has been dead for well over 30 years.

I find it sounds very strange to hear a 65+ year old woman saying "My Nana ........"

cousin was born in Lancashire, her grandmother in Yorkshire .................. if that contributes anything to the debate!


TootyFruity Report 31 Jul 2013 08:46

To avoid confusion for any other posters as there now appears two posters using the same name and avatar. This is CupCake formally known as NanaSue who appears on this thread and the original user of this board name and avatar who can be found on the link below for comparison. The original member using this name and avatar has deleted her account so will not be posting under this name.