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My brief researches only bring up the word "auntlike" to render the feminine equivalent of avuncular. Surely, though, and given the etymology of "aunt" [ < Latin amita -father's sister, old feminine past participle of amāre to love, i.e., beloved ], there must be a more lyrical word to hand.

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What properties of 'avuncular' do you want in the feminine version? And do those properties form a concept that are associated with lots of aunt-like people? –  Mitch Feb 18 '12 at 13:44
    
The properties are commensurate with the sex: warm, loving and protective -plus good with presents at Christmas and birthdays! [Sorry to sound irreverent, but I'm not an accredited sociologist.] –  fortunate1 Feb 18 '12 at 14:00
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I suppose you will ask for a feminine equivalent for "nepotism" next... –  GEdgar Feb 18 '12 at 14:02
    
Touché, GE, (or should I say 'toccata'?) –  fortunate1 Feb 18 '12 at 14:28
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The Columbia Guide to Standard American English says in its entry for avuncular: A curiosity: English has no similar adjective to deal with matters or qualities typical of an aunt: auntish and auntlike are about as close as we can come. –  FumbleFingers Feb 18 '12 at 14:42

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Deriving from your own explanation in the OP, the natural choice would be amicular.

I do not seem to find any dictionary entries. Need to see why.

Preliminary:
Book Doctor Gwen : 92 Feminine and Masculine Word Pairs
Feminine term / Masculine term /// neutral or inclusive term
4. amicular* / avuncular
(*Terms that are slang or recently coined.)

Contemporary Pragmatism - Google Books Result
books.google.com/books?isbn=9042018445...
John R. Shook, Paulo Ghiraldelli - 2004 - Philosophy - 200 pages
... be offered as amicular advice to discourse generation researchers, along the lines of the earlier 'Don't ask for the meaning; ask for the use', ...

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+1 for the re-search @Kris. –  karthik Feb 18 '12 at 12:50
    
Your answer is a thing of beauty, Kris -thank you! I can't imagine it catching on quickly, but I'll use it regularly now. (And hey, remember when they said bringing "misandry" into the working language was an uphill battle!) EDIT: interesting to see Gwen has it as "... recently coined" -she's quick! –  fortunate1 Feb 18 '12 at 13:35
    
The right answer is materteral, from Latin materteral, for one’s mother’s aunt. It’s only been around for going on 200 years though. Avuncular is also one’s mother’s brother in origin. There didn’t appear to be father’s-side terms, although we don’t usually make that distinction in English. If we did, then something from patruus for one’s father’s brother and from amita for one’s father’s sister might make sense. Then again, only matrilineal relations are certain. That’s why one’s sisterson had a special honor in ancient societies: he was more surely related to you than your own. –  tchrist Feb 18 '12 at 16:27
    
@tchrist: You mean one's aunt on the mother's side, (maternal aunt) not "one’s mother’s aunt." I believe. –  Kris Feb 19 '12 at 8:01
    
@tchrist: 'tanticular' has also been proposed (but not as seriously. 'amicular' would also correspond more directly to 'amita'. Re 'ancient' societies, well, pretty much every permutation has existed in some society somewhere and more (Amazon rain forest, German tribes, New Guinea highlands, etc). –  Mitch Jan 21 '13 at 20:57

The correct answer, courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary, is the word materteral, whose entry I give here in toto:

Pronunciation: Brit. /məˈtəːtərl̩/ , U.S. /məˈtərdər(ə)l/

Etymology: < classical Latin mātertera maternal aunt ( < māter mother n.1 + ‑tera , feminine of ‑ter, suffix forming nouns) + ‑al suffix1.

humorous. rare.

Characteristic or typical of an aunt. Cf. avuncular adj.

  • 1823      W. Taylor in Monthly Rev. 102 447      With maternal and materteral anxiety.
  • 1867      J. N. Taylor Spindrift 6      You can picture the stately materteral form—A full-blown Atè, big with doom!

The proper citation for that entry is:

materteral, adj.

Third edition, March 2001; online version December 2011. < http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/114954 >; accessed 18 February 2012. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1905.

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Thanks for your answers (here & in the post above), tchrist. I love the labyrinths of etymology, but I confess the coloration of this particular word's has me bemused. One source calls amicular "slang or recently coined" -here disproved. Your materteral [like a snoring terrapin, maybe?] is "humorous. rare". I only wanted to say that I marvel at the contradictory messages sent in parallel: that matrilineage is an incontrovertible truth, and that the English words needed to illuminate that fact are either non-existent or fatuous. –  fortunate1 Feb 19 '12 at 0:00
    
@fortunate1 Well... avuncular and materteral (“What’s that y’all’re sayin’ ’bout mah turtle there, eh?”) are both from your mother’s brother and sister, not your father’s, so I’d say in origin they’re matrilineal. It’s really too bad English seems to have finally lost eam, eme, an eme > a neme for your mother’s brother; that is, for your maternal uncle. One doesn’t need Latin that way. –  tchrist Feb 19 '12 at 0:51

While their lyrical nature is subjective, dictionaries list both aunt-like as well as auntly as suitable adjectives.

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