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[gran-fah-th er, grand-] /ˈgrænˌfɑ ðər, ˈgrænd-/
the father of one's father or mother.
a forefather.
the founder or originator of a family, species, type, etc.; the first of one's or its kind, or the one being longest in existence:
the grandfather of all steam locomotives.
verb (used with object)
to exempt (something or someone) from new legislation, restrictions, or requirements:
The law grandfathered all banks already operating at the time of passage. He was grandfathered into the pension plan.
Origin of grandfather
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English; see grand-, father Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for grandfather
  • Other problem was all the faculty looked at him as a grandfather figure.
  • Then he remembered his grandfather's story, so he threw his own hat to the ground.
  • He likened that of mammals, by comparison, to a hollow-chested grandfather clock.
  • My grandfather told me about his job, and he taught me to smell the flowers in the garden.
  • If your father is also your grandfather, you have a high inbreeding coefficient.
  • He worked with my grandfather during the war and he was friends with my family.
  • His grandfather told him stories while he did the milking.
  • My grandfather's grave turned into the light, and the dew on his weedy little mortality patch was glorious.
  • Next came the pendulum, which is more or less how your grandfather's grandfather clock operates.
  • My grandfather suffered a stroke, after which the doctors gave him only a couple months to live.
British Dictionary definitions for grandfather


/ˈɡrænˌfɑːðə; ˈɡrænd-/
the father of one's father or mother
(often pl) a male ancestor
(often capital) a familiar term of address for an old man
(dialect) a caterpillar or woodlouse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for grandfather

early 15c., from grand (adj.) + father (n.), probably on analogy of French grand-père. Replaced grandsire and Old English ealdefæder. Grandfather clause originally (1900) referred to exemptions from post-Reconstruction voting restrictions in the U.S. South for men whose forebears had voted before the Civil War. Grandfather clock is c.1880, from the popular song; they were previously known as tall case clocks or eight-day clocks.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for grandfather



To give someone a special status or privilege because of service before the time a new or definitive arrangement is made: Some farmers just got grandfathered in, that's true

[1900+; fr the grandfather clause often written into new arrangements in order to be fair to older incumbents or practitioners; the date indicates the earliest instance of grandfather clause]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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