grannum (gră’nŭm | græ’nʌm)

noun, plural grannums

informal: grandmother, old woman

origin: 18th century variation of grandam

Definition of Grannum From Entick'sNew Spelling Dictionary

Entick’s “New Spelling Dictionary” (1787)

  • Grey as grannum’s cat (693) (Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British, 1732)
  • Teach your grannum to spin (4321) (Fuller, 1732)
  • Teach your grannum to such eggs (4322) (Fuller, 1732)
  • Teach your grannum (grandame) to suck eggs – a reproof to those, who think they have more knowledge than the whole world, and will be ever and anon teaching those who have had more Experience than themselves. (Nathan Bailey, George Gordon, Philip Miller, Thomas Lediard, Dictionarium Britannicum: Or, A More Compleat Universal Etymological English Dictionary Than Extant, 1736)
  • Go and teach your grannum to crack filberts (Thomas George Smollett, The Adventures of Sir Lancelot Greaves, 1762)
  • Grannum or Grandam – an old grandmother (Entick’s New Spelling Dictionary: Teaching to Write and Pronounce the English Tongue with Ease and Propriety. New edition by William Crakelt, 1787, p 170)
  • Grannum’s gold – hoarded money: supposed to have belonged to the grandmother of the possessor (Francis Grose, Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811)

grannum berkshire lady

The Berkshire Lady’s Garland (c1706)

She had left by an old Grannum
Full five thousand Pounds per Annum,
Which she held without Controul:
Thus she did in Riches roll.

The Berkshire Lady’s Garland (c1706)

‘Tis a strange thing, that a lustful itch should lie lurking so long in the superannuated crevices of an old grannum,

No way to talk about the elderly… (1791), in the blog Georgian Bawdy House

Horace, Book II Ode 14 imitated to the Rev Mr Langhorn
With how impetuous career
Runs out of sight the rapid year!
Believe me, Langhorn, though we pray,
like my good Grannum, thrice a day,
old age, and rheums, and gouts, and
agues, in spite of piety with plague us.

Public Advertiser (London), Wednesday 18 July

Thankfully, you won’t find the term in modern usage and you won’t find a definition in current dictionaries. If you have been called “Granny Grannum” in the past I’m sure that you wouldn’t want there to be one. These are past definitions and sayings and and you will find the term searching the internet in old plays, poems and newspaper adverts and OCR mistakes for “per annum”.

The surname originated in Barbados as a variation of Crannum (Cranham) rather than a modern variation of Granham, Grantham or anglicised version of Mag Raghnainn (Mac Raghnaill) as suggested elsewhere.


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