4
votes
1answer
57 views

Is a *by-law* the same thing as an *in-law*?

When I was a student (over fifty years ago) I had a landlady who used to talk about her 'aunt-by-law'. I wish I had been bold enough to ask her the nature of the relationship, but I have always ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Meaning of “direct descendant” as opposed to “indirect descendant”

I know what a descendant is. A’s children, grandchildren and greatn-grandchildren are all A’s descendants. But what does direct descendant mean? It is as if some of those people are A’s direct ...
1
vote
1answer
706 views

Is “elder brother” implicit in “brother”?

I just watched a film called Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. I wonder how one knows whether he is an elder brother or a younger brother when he only says that he has a brother and does not ...
4
votes
1answer
489 views

“Son-in-law” or “son-by-law” [closed]

Why is there in in -in-law instead of by or something similar? Simon Jester, in his answer to this question, quotes the Oxford English Dictionary which says that it originally applied to ...
4
votes
3answers
977 views

“Oldest son or oldest daughter”

Contract states Upon the death of the stockholder his interest shall pass to the oldest son or oldest daughter. I am the oldest daughter and have a younger brother. Who gets the interest?
2
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I know the exact meaning of “cousin” in a sentence?

How can I know the exact meaning of the word cousin in a sentence? How do English speakers distinguish between different kinds of cousins? (Arabic distinguishes both the sex of the cousin and the ...