Archiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2009-08 > 1251212605

From: owentagart <>
Subject: Re: [Q-R] Grosse-mémé?
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2009 11:03:25 -0400
References: <>,<>,<>
In-Reply-To: <>

Good point, Sylvie! The German "gross" translates into English with all of the definitions and connotations of the English word "gross" except one: Gross meaning "flagrant" or "outrageous" translates as "grob" not "gross".

That may explain why some English speakers tend to get "grossed out" at "grosse-maman". But a German (or Alsace-Lorraine) connection, might explain it.


In a message dated 08/25/09 09:52:47 Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
Hi everyone!

This caught my attention... in German, grand-mère would sound like "gross-mutter"... I wonder if there is a German connection somewhere...



owentagart a écrit :
Hi, Chris

First of all, congratulations on spelling "grosse-mémé" correctly. "Mémé" and "mémère" are both children's names for "grand'mere" as "granny and "grandma"are for "grandmother". The word "grand", which means "big" is used both in English and in French: grandfather, grandmother, grandpère, grand'mère. But the word "gros", which means "big" or "great" is not used in either English or French "official" vocabulary. "Gros - grosse" is not a translation of "disgusting" in French!

The English words "great-grandfather" and "great-grandmother" are translated as "arrière-grandpère" and "arrière-grand'mère". On the other hand, children's vocabulary is (of course) not as formal. "Grosse-maman", and "grosse-mémé" were not common nicknames for great-grandparents in Holyoke or Chicopee, where my family and our French speaking cousins lived when we were growing up, but I know they were used elsewhere in New England, and I would be surprised if they were not used more commonly in Québec.

In a message dated 08/24/09 18:34:28 Eastern Daylight Time, Cmccr2003 writes:
Hi there. My great-aunt was over yesterday recalling the family tree that I
showed her. She had memories of her great grandmother, who died when she
was 10 years old. When she referred to her great grandmother, she called her
her "grosse-mémé". I'm not sure of the spelling of the first word, but it
was pronounced like the English "gross", as in disgusting. There are a
number of dictionary definitions of gross/grosse but I am not sure that any
seem to make sense. Has anyone ever heard of this term "grosse mémé" and could
you tell me exactly what it means?

Chris McCray

This thread: