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"Grand is used in a specialized sense in kin terms like grandmother or grandson to indicate a further degree of lineal distance beyond that expressed in the head. Such forms can themselves be modified by great (with the same meaning) in a morphological construction that is recursive: there is no linguistic limit on how many great's are permitted in compounds like great-great-great-grandmother." (G.K.Pullum & R. Huddlestone, 2002)

The example is very good explained, however, what I could not understand is if we should consider the word grandmother as a compound or not. Since grand is attached to other bases, I thought that the option to consider grand as a prefix should not be avoided.

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    It's stress on the "grand" part is consistent with its being a compound. But sometimes it's shortened to "gram" -- I can't think of any compounds that are similarly shortened. And even in a careful pronunciation, I would not pronounce the "d" in the full form. I think it's a simple word. – Greg Lee Feb 14 '19 at 16:53
  • Yes, it's an adjective+noun compound: grand+mother. The fact that the first base occurs in other compounds is irrelevant, cf. "blacksmith", "blackbird". – BillJ Feb 15 '19 at 12:44
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Grandmother is indeed a a compound word coming from the French grandmère.

Grand means

a generation older than

More or less a generation removed from

Therefore the compound would translation

A generation older than mother

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    Consider "grandson": it doesn't mean "a generation older than". It means "another generation removed", as OP said. Be that as it may, wouldn't it be more felicitous to analyse it as a bound morpheme, which is productive only in a certain semantic field? – OmarL Feb 15 '19 at 10:55

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