My wife told me that in Persian/Farsi, there are different words for "uncle", "aunt", "grandfather" and "grandmother" that indicate which side of the family they are from (father's brother, or mother's brother? etc.)

Is there anything like that in Spanish? I think not (there's just "tio", "tia", "abuelo" and "abuela"), but would be happy to be proven wrong.


Apparently there is no common way to do this; how about:

Abuelopa (father's father) Abueloma (mother's father)

Abuelapa (father's mother) Abuelama (mother's mother)

Tiopa (father's brother) Tioma (mother's brother)

Tiapa (father's sister) Tiama (mother's sister)

  • 2
    It doesn't exist such a thing of abuelopa or abueloma, tiama or the whole part of your update. Not officially, at least. According to the country or the region, people call their grandparents different. Abuelito, papapapa, papapa or many things but it depends on the culture and the live we have for them. Look at the answer of luisluix. It's more complete. Commented May 22, 2015 at 3:25
  • I know they don't exist yet; I was proposing neologisms. Commented May 22, 2015 at 13:58
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    Those are some good propositions. Better start using them ;)
    – Jose Luis
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 14:23
  • @Joze: I will, but will anybody understand me? It's like when I pronounce "evolution" the British way ("evil-oo-shen") - I get blank stares and people slowly back away, holding their hand in front of them defensively. Commented May 23, 2015 at 13:42

2 Answers 2


You could say tío paterno or tío materno

Which is exactly what we do in English.. My paternal grandfather's name is James.

  • But now... how to distinguish my brother-in-law who married my sister from my brother-in-law who married my brother? ;-) Cuñado filial doesn't really work haha. Commented May 22, 2015 at 19:23
  • Assuming this is a heterosexual family tree, cuñado would be the husband of your sister and cuñada would be the wife of your brother. Otherwise, you'll just have to distinguish it with more words as you did in your comment.
    – dockeryZ
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 21:36
  • Right... That was the joke ;-) Commented May 22, 2015 at 21:43

The common way would be:

tío paterno (father's brother), tío materno (mother's brother)

tía paterna (father's sister), tía materna (mother's sister)

Abuelo paterno (father's father), abuelo materno (mother's father)

Abuela paterna (father's mother), abuela materna (mother's mother)

If you want to be a bit more formal:

tío por parte de mi padre (father's brother), tío por parte de mi madre (mother's brother)

tía por parte de mi padre (father's sister), tía por parte de mi madre (mother's sister)

Abuelo por parte de mi padre (father's father), abuelo por parte de mi madre (mother's father)

Abuela por parte de mi padre (father's mother), abuela por parte de mi madre (mother's mother)

  • 1
    Just to complete your answer. In case of mother's sister you can say also tía materna or tía paterna in case of father's sister. So, you just need to play with paterno and paterna when it comes from father. Paterno for grandfather or uncle and paterna for grandmother and aunt. And materno or materna when it comes from mother. Materno for grandfather and uncle. Materna for grandmother and aunt. The formal way as luisluix is very common also. Commented May 22, 2015 at 3:20

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