Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If Leia loves her brother Luke, does she feel sisterly love (because she is his sister) or brotherly love (because he is her brother)?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 14 down vote accepted

She would feel a "sisterly love" — the love of a sister — for her brother. A mother feels "motherly love" for her children, etc.

The reason for possible confusion stems from the use of "brotherly love" to describe in a general way the love of human beings for each other, similar to the way "mankind" also includes women.

share|improve this answer
2  
To help alleviate the confusion, Leia would not feel brotherly love toward something with no gender. The one being love has no bearing on the term. Also of note, since we are talking about Star Wars, if you didn't know you were siblings, would it still be sisterly love? /flamebait –  MrHen Apr 25 '11 at 17:47
    
@MrHen actually, my question was prompted by basically that question on scifi.se (scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/3013/…). I elected to use "sisterly", but I wasn't certain that I was right. –  Tony Meyer Apr 26 '11 at 2:54
    
thanks! I should have thought of "motherly" love, which makes it much clearer (but didn't, obviously). –  Tony Meyer Apr 26 '11 at 2:55
    
Which brings up a new questions for me: What kind of love does a child feel for its mother? –  deceze Apr 26 '11 at 3:07
2  
@deceze: "A child's love" is commonly used. –  MrHen Apr 26 '11 at 13:14

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.