Großeltern) as a compound noun is attested in German since the 16th century [1. 532]. It was probably created by analogy to the terms
grandmother, already found in 12th-century texts. Initially, though,
grandparents was used as a general term for ancestors, like Old High German
ana (cf. Ger.
Ahnin). Not until the 18th century was the range of meanings restricted to the parents of one’s parents. Unlike many older Germanic kinship terms (e.g.
Onkel, uncle), the term does not di…