Our Favorite Names For Father-In-Laws

Grandfather on the Beach
Photo: Getty Images

Your father-in-law has been on your recent calls list for quite a while, but now it's official. After the wedding, he's family. You'll see him on holidays, throughout the year, and whenever you and your husband need advice. One call and your father-in-law is on the front porch with his toolbox. Or in the backyard at the grill. Or on Skype making faces at your kids. But what do you call him? Names for fathers-in-law are delicate matters. Will you get creative? Stick with his first name? How about adding Mr.? We have more than a few ideas for what to call your brand-new father-in-law. Think about it now, and don't be afraid to talk to him about a name so that after the wedding, you know exactly how you'll greet him. Whether he's a Dad, Pops, or Mr. Jim, he's family now, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Tips For Picking A Name

When picking a name for your father-in-law, much depends on the type of relationship you have. Some fathers-in-law prefer to keep things formal, while others will want to be on a first-name basis. If your father-in-law is a bit of a character, he may prefer a nickname that is unique to him. It's also a good idea to think about what you're comfortable with—does addressing your father-in-law casually just feel wrong? Would calling him "Dad" rub your family the wrong way? Whatever you have in mind, when you're choosing what to call your father-in-law, it's often best to ask him directly. While you're thinking it through, we're here to help with the most popular names for fathers-in-law.

01 of 12

Keep It Formal

Formal Style

Mr. Johnson is for the formal father-in-law. You know the type: suit and tie always, with a well of financial advice. Calling this father-in-law by his last name just suits him.

02 of 12

Use His First Name

Casual Operator

Decidedly more casual, calling your father-in-law by his first name indicates a personal relationship. This is the father-in-law you can call up and chat with, no matter the day. As a general rule, it's good to ask if you're on a first-name basis now that you're family, but an easygoing father-in-law may be the one to bring it up.

03 of 12

Go With A Southern Favorite

Traditionally Southern

Using a first name with a title is a time-honored tradition in the South. Calling your father-in-law "Mr. Jim" adds respect, but in a less formal and more affectionate way. Plus, this name has good old-fashioned Southern charm.

04 of 12

Call Him 'Pops'

Smooth Operator

For the coolest of fathers-in-law, we have "Pops." Pops is an informal version of papa or grandpa. A pops is a father-in-law who can fix a classic motorcycle, pour a stiff drink, and tell a great story.

05 of 12

Make It Catchy

Catchy and Efficient

Shorten his name to an initial, add Papa, and you have a clever and oh-so-catchy name for your favorite father-in-law. "Papa J" has a great sense of humor, gives big bear hugs, and will eat up being called this version of Dad.

06 of 12

Use A Classic Name

Quick and Easy

Could there be a more classically Southern name for a father-in-law? And once you have kids, they can call him Pop too. After all, Pop is a popular nickname for both Dad and Grandpa.

07 of 12

Show Your Affection

In-Between Title

Add his first name to Papa for a classic father-in-law name. Using a title that means "Dad" along with his first name shows both respect and affection. Papa George has a great rib recipe and lots of good advice.

08 of 12

Try A Fun Acronym

Practical and Fun

Pronounced "Phil," this father-in-law name is practical and fun since it capitalizes on the "FIL" in father-in-law. Explain it to him, and you'll have an inside joke together.

09 of 12

Choose A Classic Southern Nickname

Classic Nickname

This traditionally Southern father-in-law name will come in handy once he has grandkids running around. According to a survey by Coventry Direct, Papaw or Pawpaw is the most popular nickname for Grandpa in seven Southern states.

10 of 12

Call Him 'Dad'

Personal and Sweet

Once you've graduated from Mr. Jones and landed on calling your father-in-law "Dad," you've reached an important point in your in-law relationship. This is the nickname for a man you really look up to. That being said, it's a good idea to make certain everyone is comfortable with this name, including your own parents.

11 of 12

Embrace A Seafaring Style

Seafaring Style

A father-in-law with an affinity for sailing will enjoy this moniker. This slightly tongue-in-cheek nickname recognizes who's in charge, at least when he's manning the ship. But the Captain also knows how to have a good time.

12 of 12

Make It Short And Sweet

Southern Flair

This nickname for "Dad" is as Southern as can be. Pa is both endearing and slightly old-fashioned, a name that calls up wholesome memories of Mayberry. This father-in-law is someone you can turn to in challenging times.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles