If I am introducing someone to my daughter's husband's parents can I say "Hi, I'd like to you meet my ___". In-laws would not work here because they are my child's in-laws not my own. Is there a word for this relationship?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
Wiktionary attests a specific term for the relationship you describe: co-parents-in-law. However, it recommends simply using in-law in conversation:
While we most often use in-law to refer to the blood relatives of your own spouse, or sometimes the spouses of your blood relatives, you can also use it for other relatives by marriage. For example, a brother-in-law is your spouse’s brother or your sibling’s husband, and your in-laws are your spouse’s family, but an in-law could be a more distant relation, in context.
If that's unsatisfactory, you can simply say my daughter’s in-laws or my son-in-law’s parents. Indeed, that may be the simplest and clearest way to introduce them.
On a related note: Relationship through marriage is called affinity, as opposed to consanguinuity for blood relations. You can call a relative by marriage affinal kin, although I doubt it’d be understood by anyone but a genealogist or a practitioner of family law.
While not English, there is a term from Yiddish that is injected into sentences otherwise in English by many, especially in communities with significant Jewish populations - machatunim (or mechatunim, it being a transliteration with a good deal of regional dialectic diversity).
Although they are Greek words, sympatheroi (plural), sympathera (feminine singular) and sympatheros (masculine singular) could work well. The words mean "my child's parent(s)-in-law", literally "co-parent(s)". They are used in the first person (Hello, Sympathera!) as well as the third person.
Sympatheroi has a niche use in the Uniform Parish Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Church in America:
"Relatives are not permitted to serve on the parish council at the same time. Relatives means spouses, parents and children, siblings, and sympatheroi."
English has symphony, but hasn't yet adopted sympatheroi. The reason is probably cultural: English-speaking societies did not place a high value on this relationship, so had no need for a special word for it.
Knowing already the word in Spanish and Yiddish, I've suggested cross-laws for English. Maybe if everyone on ELU adopts it…
protected by tchrist Jun 27 '14 at 16:07
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?