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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?

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I'd like you to meet my daughter's in-laws or my son in-laws parents. –  Ice Boy Oct 18 '13 at 19:09
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skullpatrol's comment handles the introduction the best, IMO, since it describes your relation to your daughter's husband (he's your son-in-law) and his relationship to his parents. It seems the most respectful of the elders of the group being introduced which I believe is considered good etiquette. –  Kristina Lopez Oct 18 '13 at 19:22
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Of the two, I think I prefer “son-in-law's parents,” as the other may sound confusingly like “daughters-in-law” in conversation. But both are good – they came to my mind also when working up my answer. –  Bradd Szonye Oct 18 '13 at 20:15
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In Britain, with our deep sense of irony, we sometimes refer to 'the in-laws and the out-laws'. But I wouldn't try that unless you know them really well! –  WS2 Oct 19 '13 at 7:23
    
If consuegros more or less translates as co-in-laws, then I think co-in-laws is the best term in English. –  S. Tucker Jun 27 at 16:02

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Wiktionary attests a specific term for the relationship you describe: co-parents-in-law. However, it recommends simply using in-law in conversation:

Rare in conversation, the generic “in-laws” is generally used, with context left to disambiguate. Once grandchildren are born, the term co-grandparents may be used if the focus is on the relationship through the grandchildren rather than though the married couple.

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.

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If your child has children, "co-grandparents" will do. –  H Stephen Straight Oct 22 '13 at 21:33

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).

There is no English word for the Yiddish machatunim; in Spanish it is consuegros and means "co-in-laws." The parents of the people my children have married are my machatunim.

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I actually knew that word, I wrote this question looking for the English equivalent. :) –  Adam Oct 20 '13 at 5:11

I would say your son's/daughter's father-in-law/mother-in-law.

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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.

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Knowing already the word in Spanish and Yiddish, I've suggested cross-laws for English. Maybe if everyone on ELU adopts it…

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This is really a comment, not an answer. You've just admitted there isn't a word in the English language that fits and proposed a neologism which I would have interpreted as "annoyed rules or regulations" or if the subject were family, I'd think you were talking about "angry in-laws"! :) –  Mari-Lou A Oct 26 '13 at 7:35

protected by tchrist Jun 27 at 16:07

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