12 Other Ways to Say “Grandfathered In”

Are you worried about saying “grandfathered in” in formal contexts? Perhaps you’re looking for a more inclusive language choice.

You’ve come to the right place. This article will look into another term for “grandfathered in.” There are plenty of great options available.

Other Ways to Say “Grandfathered In”

  • Exempted
  • Kept around
  • Heritage
  • Tradition
  • Legacy
  • Special case
  • Preauthorized
  • Preapproved
  • Excluded
  • Excused
  • Retained
  • Allowed


  • “Grandfathered in” is an old-fashioned term that isn’t common today due to its negative connotations.
  • You should say “exempted” for an obvious and useful formal synonym.
  • “Kept around” is a useful informal alternative that works well in many cases.

You should read on to learn more about what to say instead of “grandfathered in.” Then, you’ll have plenty of alternatives ready to help keep your writing inclusive and fresh.

We have also explored whether it’s OK to say “grandfathered in.” You can skip to the final section to learn more about the phrase.

Exempted (Formal)

“Exempted” is a good choice for a formal synonym. After all, it shows that old rules are left alone by new changes. You can use it when your company is changing and you want to let people know that certain things will stay the same.

It’s also a very familiar word, meaning many natives know what it means. You won’t have to explain it, which is part of the problem with using “grandfathered in” (as some people don’t know what it means).

“Exempted” works best in a business email. It shows that you have decided to keep certain rules around.

We highly encourage using “exempted” over “grandfathered in.” It’s more effective and less offensive, making it much more suitable for professional environments.

These examples should help you understand more:

Dear Pauline,

These rules are exempted. We do not need to worry about changing them, as they have been like that for years.


Why have you exempted these? Is there no way for us to go back and correct those rules?

Kept Around (Informal)

“Kept around” is a good informal option. It shows that you have chosen to keep old things the way they are. When changes happen, sometimes it’s good to “keep things around.”

You can use “kept around” when speaking with friends about issues. It shows that they should keep certain things around because everyone has become familiar with the ways things happen.

Many people dislike change. So, keeping things around makes sense. It helps to limit the number of people who don’t like the way things change as things move on.

You should use “kept around” in favor of “grandfathered in” because it’s less offensive. However, “kept around” will not work well in formal contexts. You should find a more suitable professional synonym to replace it.

Check out the following examples to see how it works:

Most of the problems we’ve kept around have resolved themselves. It’s worth looking into them to see how things go.

It’s all been kept around for a reason. I doubt you’ll be able to tell the others to get rid of them.

Is It OK to Say “Grandfathered In”?

It is not OK to say “grandfathered in” anymore. People think it’s too offensive due to the negative connotations.

The phrase relates to the grandfather clause. Historically, the grandfather clause prevented African-American citizens from voting while allowing poorer white people to vote. It also related to preventing African-American families who came from slavery from getting similar benefits (such as education and housing).

While the meaning is no longer related, the implication is the same, and it’s problematic to say “grandfathered in.”

Above all else, it’s old-fashioned. You will not find many workplaces or jobs using “grandfathered in” for old rules anymore. There are plenty of better alternatives available.

So, bookmark this page to remind yourself of the best synonyms. That way, you can avoid any political incorrectness and stick to much better alternatives.