Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to grand-

grand (adj.)

late 14c., grant "large, big" (early 12c. in surnames), from Anglo-French graunt and directly from Old French grant, grand (10c., Modern French grand) "large, tall; grown-up; great, powerful, important; strict, severe; extensive; numerous," from Latin grandis "big, great; full, abundant," also "full-grown;" figuratively "strong, powerful, weighty, severe," of unknown origin.

In Vulgar Latin it supplanted magnus and continued in the Romanic languages. The connotations of "noble, sublime, lofty, dignified," etc., were in Latin. In English it developed a special sense of "imposing." Meaning "principal, chief, most important" (especially in titles) is from 1560s; that of "of very high or noble quality" is from 1712. As a general term of admiration, "magnificent, splendid," from 1816. Related: Grander; grandest.

Grand jury is late 15c. Grand piano from 1797. The grand tour of the principal sites of continental Europe, as part of a gentleman's education, is attested by that name from 1660s. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in western U.S. was so called by 1869, popularized by Maj. John Wesley Powell, scientific adventurer, who explored it; earlier it had been known as Big Canyon. For grand slam see slam (n.2).

Advertisement
uncle (n.)

late 13c., from Old French oncle, from Latin avunculus "mother's brother" ("father's brother" was patruus), literally "little grandfather," diminutive of avus "grandfather," from PIE root *awo- "grandfather, adult male relative other than one's father" (source also of Armenian hav "grandfather," Hittite huhhas "grandfather," Lithuanian avynas "maternal uncle," Old Church Slavonic uji "uncle," Welsh ewythr "uncle"). Boutkan, however, says "the root probably denoted members of the family of the mother." 

Replaced Old English eam (usually maternal; paternal uncle was fædera), which represents the Germanic form of the same root (source also of Dutch oom "uncle, grandfather, brother-in-law," Old High German oheim "maternal uncle, son of a sister" German Ohm "uncle," Old Norse afi "grandfather").

Also from French are German, Danish, Swedish onkel. As a familiar title of address to an old man, attested by 1793; in the U.S. South, especially "a kindly title for a worthy old negro" [Century Dictionary]. First record of Dutch uncle (and his blunt, stern, benevolent advice) is from 1838; Welsh uncle (1747) was the male first cousin of one's parent. To say uncle as a sign of submission in a fight is North American, attested from 1909, of uncertain signification.

nephew (n.)

c. 1300, neveu, "son of one's sister or brother," also "a grandson; a relative; a kinsman," from Old French neveu (Old North French nevu) "grandson, descendant," from Latin nepotem (nominative nepos) "sister's son, grandson, descendant," in post-Augustan Latin (c. 150 A.D.), "nephew," from PIE *nepot- "grandchild," and in a general sense, "male descendant other than son" (source also of Sanskrit napat "grandson, descendant;" Old Persian napat- "grandson;" Old Lithuanian nepuotis "grandson;" Dutch neef; German Neffe "nephew;" Old Irish nia, genitive niath "son of a sister," Welsh nei).

The original pronunciation is /nev-u/; the spelling was changed unetymologically to -ph- after c. 1400, and the pronunciation partly followed it. Used in English in all the classical senses until the meaning narrowed in 17c., and also as a euphemism for "the illegitimate son of an ecclesiastic" (1580s). The Old English cognate, nefa "nephew, stepson, grandson, second cousin" survived to 16c.

[I]ts final exclusive use for 'nephew' instead of 'grandson' is prob. due in part to the fact that, by reason of the great difference in age, a person has comparatively little to do with his grandsons, if he has any, while nephews are proverbially present and attentive, if their uncle is of any importance. [Century Dictionary]
grandad (n.)
also granddad, 1793, from grand- + dad. Grand dada attested from 1690s. Grandaddy is attested from 1751; figuratively (in grandaddy of all _____) from 1898.
grandame (n.)
also grandam, c. 1200, "a grandmother; an old woman," from grand- + dame. Compare Anglo-French graund dame. Contracted form grannam attested from 1590s. Grand dame "great lady, lady of rank and dignity" (1744) is a modern borrowing from French.
grandchild (n.)
1580s, graundchilde, from grand- + child. Related: Grandchildren.
grand-daughter (n.)
also granddaughter, 1610s, from grand- + daughter.
grandfather (n.)
early 15c., from grand- + father (n.), probably on analogy of French grand-père. Replaced grandsire and Old English ealdefæder. Grandfather clause originally (1899) referred to exemptions from post-Reconstruction voting restrictions (literacy, property tax) in the U.S. South for men whose forebears had had the right to vote before 1867 (thus allowing poor and illiterate whites to continue to vote). Grandfather clock is from 1894, originally grandfather's clock (1876), "a furniture dealer's name" [OED] from "My Grandfather's Clock," the 1876 song by Henry Clay Work that was enormously popular (and loathed) in late 1870s. It indicates that they were beginning to seem old-fashioned; they were previously known as tall case clocks or eight-day clocks.
grandma (n.)
1793, shortening of grandmama (1749), childish or familiar form of grandmother (see grand- + mama).
grandmother (n.)
early 15c., from grand- + mother (n.1), probably on analogy of French grand-mère. Replaced earlier grandame (c. 1200) and Old English ealdemodor.