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Is "twin brothers" correct? Or is it also incorrect like "cousin brother"?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by dwjohnston, FumbleFingers, Mari-Lou A, Josh61, Dan Bron Aug 14 '14 at 19:12

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Is it "the right phrase to use" in what context? Certainly there is a phrase "twin brothers" -- brothers who are twins -- but there is no "cousin brothers" because brothers are brothers, not cousins. More detail, please! – Andrew Leach Nov 8 '12 at 6:34
Give us a sentence. "Twin brothers" is a perfectly normal phrase, but you might want to be more specific and say whether they're fraternal or identical twin brothers. – user21497 Nov 8 '12 at 6:34
@AndrewLeach Actually, brothers can also be cousins. If the parents are first cousins, the brothers are also (double) second cousins. And if the parents are siblings, then the brothers are also (double) first cousins as well. Yes, really. – tchrist Nov 8 '12 at 14:07
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, "twin brothers" is a natural-sounding phrase. One could argue that the phrase is somewhat redundant; you could say:

Fred and Jake are twin brothers.

but you could just as easily say:

Fred and Jake are twins.

without any loss of meaning. One exception, however, might be if the twins are named such that you can't readily tell if they are male or female; for instance:

Robin and Kelly are twins.

In that case, you might want to say:

Robin and Kelly are twin brothers.

since both Robin and Kelly can be used as boy and girl names.

The phrase could also be applied to two people who aren't related – although that would be in a metaphoric sense. For example:

Those two defenders play like twin brothers.

would mean that the two athletes played exceptionally well together, and almost had an innate sense of what the other one would do. (That phrase could work as a reference to the strange phenomena of twin telepathy, which is used to describe when twins have an uncanny ability to sense what the other one might do or feel.) As one coach of identical twin brothers said of his players:

While each of the seniors has his own style -- Joe is more of a slasher; Sam, an inside-outside shooter -- the two have an uncanny connection on the floor -- a "twin telepathy" of hoops.

"I think what makes them unique is really the communication level between them, that they really understand where they are on the court together, and they have a real good feel for each other," Mastroianni said. "And most of it is nonverbal. They sort of just know."

Another example of non-relation usage might be:

Dave and Marty are very close, like twin brothers.

might mean that Dave and Marty do a lot of things together. I could see that metaphor being used to describe, say, two college students who perhaps pledged the same fraternity, played on the same sports team, did a lot of extracurricular activities together, and took some of the same classes.

Lastly, you are correct in your assertion that "cousin brother" is largely nonsensical.

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Going by its wiktionary definition, cousin brother is quite correct in India (which is where the OP resides). – coleopterist Nov 8 '12 at 12:32
@coleopterist: thanks for that comment! LSNED... – J.R. Nov 8 '12 at 13:16

Those words mean different things. A cousin is a child of one's uncle or aunt. Twin brothers or sisters are, on the other hand, children born from the same pregnancy (as stated in this wiki article, for example). So while twins have the same parents, cousins don't.

Note, however, that according to this article, the word "cousin-brother" exists as well, and means "a male first cousin". I'm not a native speaker, but personally I would understand it's meaning if I heard it.

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@StoneyB, yes, thank you... – SingerOfTheFall Nov 8 '12 at 11:52

To my knowledge, twin brothers refers to brothers who are born together regardless of identical twins or non-identical twin.

And cousin refers to a child of a person's aunt or uncle.

Twin definition: dictionary link

Cousin definition: dictionary link

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A cousin-brother is someone who is both your cousin and your brother at the same time, because your parents were already related to each other by blood outside of marriage. It is now rare in Western culture, although it has not always been so. It was once common in the West for cousins to marry, and still is in some cultures. Boys born to such marriages are indeed cousin brothers, and are more related to each other than normal brothers are, since they are both brothers and also double second cousins at the same time.

A twin brother is one born in the same birth. It may be a monozygotic identical twin, a half-identical twin of either the polar or sesquizygotic variety, or a more run-of-the-mill dizygotic fraternal twin. It may even be that the twins are half-brothers sharing the same mother but having different fathers. But let’s let zygotes be zygotes, for no matter which of those applies, they are still called twins.

There also exists an older term, cousin-german (plural form: cousins-german), which simply meant one’s first cousin.

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