English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In his song "White Wine in the Sun", Tim Minchin sings

I'll be seeing ... my grand and my Mum.

This apparently stands for grandparents, but what is the 'default' visualization of that word by native speakers? Do you see multiple grandparents or, for instance, one grandmother?

For me as a non-native English speaker, the latter seems more natural, since, along the musical motion and harmony change, the scene's attention is somewhat focusing gradually on the Mum character, going from plural of sisters to singular of Mum, dragging the intermediate point to singular.

It could also be undefined, so that you'd only sense just a vague odor of grandparenting. Is this the case?

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you look at the lyrics to “White Wine in the Sun”, you’ll see that he actually sings,

I’ll be seeing my dad,
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum.

In Britain, gran is a name for a grandmother (probably short for granny, which is short for grandma, which is short for grandmother). The plural, then, would be grans, but I don’t think you’d hear it often. More likely, British folk would use a different word like grannies or grandmothers to talk about more than one gran.

share|improve this answer
Should also have provided all the same details for grandfather and grandparents as well, to clarify why the reference could not have been to grandparents. OP thought it "apparently stands for grandparents." – Kris May 31 '13 at 6:30

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.