14 Ways to say grandpa in Spanish like a native speaker

How do you say grandpa in Spanish? “Abuelo”, that’s it. 

However, if you want to know how real native speakers call their grandpas in Spanish, you have to keep reading this article because today, I’ll share 14 different ways with you. 

Yes, you may get away with the basic translation that I just gave you, but in real life, people use more than that. 

We use these 14 ways to say grandpa in Spanish in lots of different countries in Latin-América, but in some places, speakers might even come up with their personalized ways to call their Gramps. 

If you know some of these nicknames, different from the ones I’m about to teach you, don’t hesitate to share them with me in the comments at the end.

Let’s begin with the list:

#1 Abuelo

Simple, and straight to the point, “abuelo” is the translation for “grandfather”, and people use it to talk about him to other people, or just to refer to him directly, like this: 

  • Mi abuelo vive con mis tias, ya está muy viejo para vivir solo: My grandfather lives with my aunts, he’s too old to live on his own now.
  • Abuelo, ¿cómo amaneció hoy? ¿se siente mejor?: Grandpa, how are you today? Do you feel better?

If your grandpa is a Spanish native speaker, this is the most neutral and “safe” way to go. You won’t have any confusion with anyone when talking about him, or when talking to him.

#2 Abue

figurines of old people

This is short for “abuelo”. 

If you say it, it means that you’re just playing with the root of the word.

Here are some examples of how Latinos use it to talk to their grandfathers:

  • Hola abue, ¿cómo estuvo el paseo en el parque?: Hi grandpa, how was your walk in the park?
  • Abue, ¿podrías prestarme dinero para comparar un carro nuevo?: grandpa, could you lend me some money to buy a new car?

The funny thing about the last sentence is that, usually, in Latin America, the grandparents always have some money available, and they’re always there for you when you’re in dire need.

Of course, asking your grandpa for money for a car is a bit exaggerated, but they’re always a good option when you need a hand.

Oh, and going back to the word “abue”, you have to know that you might also use it to talk to your grandma.  

This is because “abuela” (grandmother) looks just like “abuelo” at the beginning of the word, and so native speakers may use it with their grannies too.

Related: How to say grandma in Spanish.

#3 Abuelito

If your G-pap has been lovely and nice to you throughout your lifetime, you’ll likely want to refer to him with a word that expresses affection, and “abuelito” does just that.

We may translate this word as “grandaddy”, and we use it the same to say grandpa in Spanish.

This happens because we’re using a diminutive in Spanish, and when we do that, it’s very likely that you’re showing some kind of love for whatever you’re talking about, in this case, your Grandpa!

What we’re doing is adding “ito” at the end of the word. For instance, a little kid might say:

  • Mamá, ¿cuándo me vas a llevar a ver a mi abuelito?: Mom, when are you going to take me to see my grandaddy?
  • Abuelito, ¿tienes algún chocolate para mi?: Grandaddy, do you have some chocolate for me?

Perhaps, some grandfathers don’t deserve this nickname because of how they act during their lifetimes, but in general, Latino grandparents are lovely to their grandchildren.

Many of them become “un alcahueta”, which is how we describe a person in Spanish, who covers up bad behavior in kids.

Usually, they help their grandchildren when parents want to teach them a lesson and satisfy those picky cravings of kids for candies; like when un “abuelito” fills his grandson with chocolate bars and gifts. 

Hurray for those kinds of “abuelitos”! 

#4 Papito

I have to be honest, I don’t know if other countries outside of Colombia use this nickname with their Gramps, but it’s very common in this country.

It comes from “papi” which means daddy, but since we’re adding the diminutive “ito”, that means that affection is coming es in the way when calling an old man “papito”.

This is a common feeling that native speakers have towards their Grandparents. Adults even teach their children to call their grandpas this way, like this:

  • Vaya y dele a un abrazo a su papito: Go and give grandpa a hug. 
  • Recuerda llamar a tu papito para saludarlo, a él le gusta mucho escucharte: Remember calling grandpa to say hi, he loves listening to you.

#5 Pito

This is the short version of the previous word, but people only use it to talk directly to their grandpa.

That means that it would sound super weird if, in the previous examples, you’d replace “papito” for “pito”.

  • Vaya y dele un abrazo a su pito (incorrect)


That’s not how people use this word in real life, we use it just for direct talking and to call your grandpa this way, like this:

  • Hola pito, te ayudo a cargar esa maleta?: Hi grandpa, want me to help you to carry that bag?
  • Pito, ¿vamos a ver el partido de la selección?: Grandpa, are we going to watch the game of the national team?

#6 Welo

Again, we’re playing with the word “abuelo” here, but this time we’re skipping “ab”.

Pronunciation sounds a little like ooh-eeh-loh. 

This short nickname is very common to hear in Colombia, and since it’s a pronunciation mistake, you’ll likely hear it on young children when they try to say grandpa in Spanish, like this:

  • Welo, ¿me llevas a la escuela hoy?: Poppa, would you take me to school today?
  • Hola welo, ¿qué me tragiste hoy?: Hi grandpa, what did you bring me today?

#7 Tata

This is a popular nickname that Latin Americans give to their grandparents.

However, if you’re coming to Colombia, you won’t hear it. It’s more common to hear it in countries like Chile, Puerto Rico, or Mexico.

If you speak English and you come from a Spanish background from any of these 3 countries, then this is probably a nickname that your family use to call your grandpa. Perhaps they say things like:

  • Tata, hoy viene Miguel de visita: Grandpa, Miguel comes to visit today.
  • Tata, recuerda que mañana tienes cita médica: Grandpa, remember that you have a medical appointment tomorrow.

#8 Yayo

If you read my article on how to say grandma in Spanish, then you probably remember “Yaya”. 

Related: How to say grandma in Spanish.

As you probably guessed, “Yayo” is the masculine way of that word and people use it to talk directly to their grandpas. 

Just as the previous word, we don’t use it in Colombia, but in countries like Mexico, this is a way to show affection to your grandad, like this:

  • Yayo, ¿se tomó la medicina?: Grandpa, did you take your medicine?
  • Yayo, vamos a caminar y te invito a un café en el parque: Let’s go walking grandpa, and I’ll invite you to have coffee in the park.

#9 Tito

Remember number 5 of this list “pito”? Well, “tito” is the Mexican version of that nickname. 

With “tito” however, you can refer to him as if he was a thing, as well as using it to talk to him.

Of course, we’re not saying anything wrong to him, this is another way to show affection to the man, like if he was a thing that you really appreciate: 

  • Voy a preguntarle al tito si quiere ir a la playa con nosotros: I’m going to ask grandpa if he wants to go to the beach with us.
  • Mijo, vaya a saludar al tito que está en el cuarto: Son, go say hi to granpa, he’s in the bedroom.
  • Tito, si no quiere sopa, déjela a un lado, no se la tiene que tomar: Grandpa, if you don’t want soup, leave it aside, you don’t have to drink it.

#10 Agüelo

grandfather and granddaughter

When I was a kid, I remember my mother correcting me and saying “no es agüelo, es abuelo”.

This is a pronunciation mistake for “abuelo”. Mostly uneducated Spanish speakers make it, and also very young kids when they’re just learning how to say grandpa in Spanish. 

So, if you know the correct word, “abuelo”, why am I teaching you this mistake?…

Because if you don’t know it, then you might get confused when you hear someone saying:

  • Yo vivo con mi papá y mi agüeloI live with my dad and my grandad.

Or may be a little kid saying:

  • Este juguete me lo dio mi agüelo: My granpa gave me this toy.
  • Agüelo, ¿vas a venir a visitarme?: Grandpa, are you coming to visit me?

#11 Ancestro

This is one of those funny nicknames people use to refer to their grandparents. 

Of course, you never want to refer this way directly to your poppa, it could sound cruel because it means “ancestor”, like if he was older than he is already!

If you’re going to say this nickname, then you should only use it with your close friends, like this:

  • No puedo ir a cine, voy a visitar al ancestro en la tarde: I can’t go to the movies, I’m going to vist my ancestor. 
  • Voy a preguntarle a mi ancestro a ver si puede prestarme dinero: I’m going to ask my ancestor to see if he can lend me some money.
  • El ancestro dijo que no tiene dinero para mí: The ancestor said that he doesn’t have money for me.

#12 El viejo

This phrase means “the old one”, and depending on the tone you use when you say it, it might communicate deep affection or complete contempt for your grandfather.

For instance, if someone talks aggressively and says something like: 

  • Ese viejo no quiere hacer caso: That old one doesn’t want to obey.

That would sound rude. But, if instead of that, your voice denotes love, and you say something like:

  • Mi viejo está muy enfermo: My old one is very sick.
  • Estuvimos de paseo con el viejoWe were on a trip with the old one.

That communicates affection.

Also, keep in mind that “el viejo” might also be a nickname for someone’s father, or at least, that’s how some people call their fathers in Colombia.

#13 El viejito

In Colombia, people usually use this nickname to refer to really old people in general, you know, people who look old for real, and usually need help in their daily activities.

It might sound a little cruel in English because the translation for this expression is “oldie”, but again, when your tone reflects affection, it’ll be a nickname for your old people. 

So, since grandparents usually look old, you might talk about them like this:

  • El viejito no quiere ir al paseo, ¿quién se va a quedar con él?: The oldie doesn’t want to go on the trip, who’s going to stay with him?
  • El día que mi viejito falte, me va doler mucho: The day my oldie goes away, it’s going to hurt a lot.

#14 Cucho/Cuchito

If you’ve been learning Spanish for a while now, and you’ve heard Colombian people talking Spanish, then I’m sure you’re familiar with “Cucho”.

It’s just slang for “old”, and its diminutive is “cuchito”. 

Related: 55 Different words and phrases to say goodbye in Spanish + 17 unique Colombian ways to say bye

People use this word for three things:

  • As slang for buddy
  • To talk about old people.
  • As a nickname for their Grandfathers.

Here are some examples of how people would call their grandpas “cucho”, and remember: watch your tone, it might make a huge difference on what you’re trying to communicate:

  • Cucho, ¿quiere galletas que hizo mi mamá?: Grandpa, do you want cookies that my mom made?
  • Estas son las fotos del abuelo. El cuchito lucia muy bien cuando estaba joven: This are grandpa’s pictures. The old man looked good when he was young. 


And there you go, those are 14 different nicknames to say grandpa in Spanish. If you know more, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments at the end. 

As a summary, you can pick any of the following expressions to talk to your grandad or to talk about him:

  1. Abuelo
  2. Abue
  3. Abuelito
  4. Papito
  5. Pito
  6. Tata
  7. Yayo
  8. Tito
  9. Agüelo
  10. Ancestro 
  11. El viejo
  12. El viejito
  13. Welo
  14. Cucho/cuchito

I’m sure that you won’t use them all. I’m a native speaker, and I just use a couple of those expressions. 

However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know them because, If you hear a Colombian saying “cucho”, you want to make sure that you understand who’s he talking about.

Now, even though you learn by memory the 14 expressions that we covered today, then you probably agree with me when I say that Spanish-speaking people tend to talk too fast.

If you feel that way, then you have to read the guide I wrote so you can understand people in real life easily: 7 Steps to understanding fast speaking people in Spanish. 

You may get it for free after you sign up for my newsletter in the form below:

Diego Cuadros is a blogger and a Spanish online teacher. He uses stories to help Spanish lovers understand fast-speaking native speakers, so they don't freeze and panic in conversations.

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