also grannie, 1660s, according to OED, most likely a diminutive and contraction of grannam, shortened form of grandame, rather than from grandmother. The sailor's granny knot (by 1803), originally granny's knot, readily jammed and insecure, is a reef or square knot with the second part crossed the wrong way, so called in contempt because "it is the natural knot tied by women or landsmen" [Smyth, "Sailor's Word-Book," 1867]. Granny Smith apples (1895) are said to have been named for Maria Ann Smith (d. 1870) of Australia, who originated them. Granny glasses attested from 1966.
updated on April 24, 2015