German Name for Grandfather

Opas Love Grandchildren But Also Value Hard Work and Good Habits

German grandfather reading book to grandchildren
Opa is a popular name for grandfathers in many areas. Photo © Nils Hendrik Mueller | Cultura | Getty Images

Opa is the informal German name for grandfather or grandpa. Grossvater or grossvader is the more formal term. Since there are several forms of Standard German, as well as a number of dialects, spellings and pronunciations may differ.

Like Oma for grandmother, Opa is a popular nickname for grandfather in many areas of the globe. 

Learn about German names for grandmotherSee also ethnic names for grandfather.

About Germany and German Grandfathers

Germany has the second highest population of any European country, after Russia. It is not the most diverse of nations. Its current immigration laws are quite liberal, however, and many refugees consider it a desirable place to relocate. Still, currently over 90% of the occupants are German, and German is the first language for 95% of the citizens. Germany's economy is sound, and corruption is reputed to be minimal.

Whereas there are innate problems with describing the national culture of a people, Germans have a reputation for being meticulous people who enjoy structure. They have a well-deserved reputation for being excellent engineers and managers. They work hard, have thrifty habits and manage their time well. Punctuality is a virtue.

German grandfathers, like all grandparents, love their grandchildren. But German grandfathers are also likely to be concerned that grandchildren develop good habits with regard to work, time and money. 

German Proverbs

A German grandfather would doubtlessly approve of these proverbs, which capture German values.

  • "Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund." The morning hour has gold in its mouth. This is a more elegant way of saying that the early bird gets the worm. Germans have no use for late sleepers.
  • "Des Teufels liebstes Möbelstück ist die lange Bank." The devil's favorite piece of furniture is the long bench. To put something on the long bench means to put it off, to procrastinate. Germans have about the same tolerance for procrastinators as they have for late sleepers. 
  • "Der Hunger kommt beim Essen." The appetite emerges while eating. When a person dreads a task, the best thing is just to get started. The appetite for the task will emerge during the doing of it. 
  • "Die Kuh vom Eis holen." Get the cow off the ice. Act immediately to remedy a risky situation.
  • "Kinder und Betrunkene sagen immer die Wahrheit." Children and drunken people are the only ones who tell the truth. Be skeptical of what others tell you.
  • "Wer rastet, der rostet." He who rests gets rusty. The only way to maintain skills is to use them.
  • "Das Billige ist immer das Teuerste." The cheapest is always the most expensive. It pays to invest in quality.
  • "Die besten Gedanken kommen allzeit hinterdrein." The best thoughts come second. It's best not to act on impulse or to rely on first impressions.
  • "Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben." Don't praise the day until evening has come. Don't be premature in your judgment. It's not over until it's over. 
  • "Not bricht Eisen." Necessity breaks iron. A person will find a way to do what must be done.