Questions about kinship terms (words for family members).

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2answers
2k views

Use of “brother” in non-family and non-religious contexts

I think the word brother (sometimes spelled brotha or bro) has been used for a long time among African Americans when talking to one another with the meaning of "pal" and not in a family context. ...
4
votes
1answer
506 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
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1answer
1k views

Confusion over “family name” in English: What about double-barrelled last names? [closed]

How do you fill out an official form in English that asks for just one last name when you instead have a surname which comprises more than one word? I currently live in a Latin country, where we ...
4
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3answers
997 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?
9
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8answers
2k views

Replacement for “brethren” to refer to mostly female group

The word brethren would generally be used to refer to a group of people which have something making them an integrated unit. To exemplify my point in case: The Catholic Brethren... My college ...
12
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2answers
69k views

When should “Mom” and “Dad” be capitalized?

I am trying to understand capitalization rules with Mom and Dad. I believe I have it correct below, but please let me know if I do not. The one thing I learned from my dad was that it was good to ...
10
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2answers
727 views

father-in-law = step-father?

I've been reading Middlemarch, and came across a usage of father-in-law which, from context, must mean step-father. Later in the same novel, the phrase father-in-law was used as we would use it today. ...
1
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2answers
772 views

Which one can be named or acknowledged as the elder brother (sister) between twins who was born earlier and later in UK and America?

There is the following sentence in Jeffery Archer’s detective story False Impression: Arabella was so wise and sensible. If only her beloved twin had been born a few minutes earlier rather than a ...
2
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1answer
231 views

Single term to include children from multiple births

I’m wondering if there is single term to indicate that a child is a twin, triplet, quadruplet, etc., without specifying the exact number of siblings in the multiple birth. For example, a ...
16
votes
1answer
292 views

I was raised being called “sister” by my family. What's the background on this usage?

I was called "sister", as a replacement for my name. (Oddly, my brother was not called "brother.") I never questioned this growing up in the 50's in a rural area. It says much about the culture I grew ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “separated at birth” mean?

Sometimes, you come across someone saying something (usually tongue-in-cheek), which might go like this: Tom: I really love eating noodles while watching Star Trek. Linda: Wow, I do exactly the ...
3
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4answers
3k views

Name for relation between a man’s two wives?

What is the relation between the two wives of a man called?
2
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2answers
462 views

What is the correct word for Step siblings?

I'm creating a list of family members: Biological, Justin, 5/20/1981 Biological, John, 1/20/1987 Adopted, Jane, 8/12/1989 Step, Doug, 12/1/1979 When listing out the type of sibling, ...
3
votes
3answers
358 views

“I'm my own grandpa” – is there a word for this?

I was listening to a Chad Morgan record today, on which his cover of the song I'm my own grandpa features as the first track. The lyrics of the song describe a bizzare, but plausible scenario, in ...
8
votes
1answer
8k views

Why is it “grandfather”, but “great-uncle”?

I know that there are six forms of this word, but "great-uncle" is most common ("great-aunt" has a similar graph). Why is this, if "grandfather" and "grandmother" are common?
14
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5answers
3k views

When describing a person without siblings, should I say “the -” or “an only child”?

I understand the phrase "only child" means the only person born from or adopted by a set of parents in a family, or a person with no siblings. I often hear the term used as "an only child," which ...
2
votes
1answer
8k views

Plural form of “Son-in-law” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Words that are pluralized in the middle? I've heard it pronounced both ways: Sons-in-law and Son-in-laws While one may be more technically correct than the ...
9
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7answers
5k views

Is there a gender-neutral word for [aunts and uncles], parents' siblings?

Brothers and sisters are siblings. Husbands and wives are spouses. Mothers and fathers are parents. Sons and daughters are children. Grandparents, grandchildren... but what about uncles and aunts, ...
16
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3answers
2k views

Where's 'in-law' in mother-in-law from?

I've read that it's somehow connected with the Canon Law, but I'm not sure. I'm really interested in finding the answer.
2
votes
2answers
6k views

Plural of “daughter in law” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Words that are pluralized in the middle? I was asked to write the plural of daughter in law in an aptitude exam. I wrote it as daughters in law. Please tell me the right ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

What's the term for siblings born 1+ years apart on the same day?

What is the term for two siblings born on the same calendar day, one or more years apart? I know there's a term, and I'd know it if I saw it, but I can't for the life of me remember it.
4
votes
3answers
11k views

Grandma and Nan, origins and differences?

What are the origins and differences between these two? Same for Granddad/Grandpa? Why was there the need for the two different names?
12
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6answers
9k views

When does an aunt’s partner or husband become an uncle?

Being the youngest of five siblings, with relatively old parents, I’ve always referred to my aunts and uncles as such, even though in fact only one of each pair is a blood relative. It never occurred ...
5
votes
5answers
820 views

Word or phrase to describe relation beween yourself and a step-parent's ex-spouse?

Is there a word or simple phrase to describe the relationship between yourself and a step-parent's ex-spouse? Particularly, I'm seeking to address the case when the ex-spouse is a parent to your ...
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 ...
2
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5answers
1k views

What's a good word to describe adults who are not yet parents?

Just read this in Emma Donoghue's book "Room". Is there a word for adults who are not parents?
11
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5answers
54k views

Which is the correct spelling: “Granddad” or “Grand-dad” or “Grandad”?

Granddad or Grand-dad or Grandad? Which is the correct spelling?
7
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1answer
708 views

Where does gender attach in “brotherly/sisterly”?

If Leia loves her brother Luke, does she feel sisterly love (because she is his sister) or brotherly love (because he is her brother)?
0
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2answers
2k views

Framing a question to which you reply with “I am the third born in my family” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Framing a question to which the answer is an ordinal number would it be if i asked what is your relative position terms of birth order in your family
7
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4answers
1k views

What did they call illegitimate children in Old English days?

I know that the word bastard in this sense appeard only in 13th century. So what was the normal term before that?
9
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3answers
2k views

On the specifics of illegitimate children

Is there a feminine form of the word bastard? It seems like bastard is a word that’s applied to male children only.
3
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3answers
891 views

How are relative familial titles used for members who died prior to your birth?

This may seem an odd and morbid question, but I am curious about the use of relative familial titles when the family member you are referring to died prior to your birth. For example, say my mother ...
7
votes
3answers
877 views

Gender-independent replacement for “fiancée” and “fiancé”

I can use child to replace son or daughter, sibling for sister or brother, and parent for mother or father. What is the unisex replacement for fiancée and fiancé? I don’t need it for speech, but for ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

Origins of the word “mother”

Apologies in advance for this question being only indirectly related to the English language, but I find it fascinating. I note with interest that the English words "mother" and "mama" have similar ...
3
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2answers
38k views

What is the relationship name of my wife's brother to me?

What is the relationship name of my wife's brother to me?
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Is there a word that means “the wife of one's brother”?

In some of the non-Latin-based languages that I know there is a special word for your brother's wife. Is there such a word in English? Usage would be something like: She is my __ (My brother's ...
2
votes
3answers
10k views

Filling out forms that ask for “relationship with”

When I fill any form for my son this question “relationship with child” confuses me. Should the answer be “son” or “father”? To me, the ideal answer is always “a father–son relationship”. A little ...
59
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”?

I find it handy when talking about my sons and daughters I can just say my children. It's nice to say nieces instead of sibling's daughters. I wonder if there is a similar term for nieces and nephews ...
2
votes
5answers
250 views

Can something be a parent or child “to”/“of” something?

I am writing some software documentation. There are data structures that are organized in trees and every element in the structure can be child or parent "to"/"of" every other element. I am not a ...
6
votes
3answers
10k views

Where do the words for daughter, son, aunt, uncle, mother, father, cousin, nephew, niece come from?

Please see Title. I'm not specifically referring to which language they came from... but if they come from something else. In other words, do they come from words with other meanings. For example, do ...
20
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3answers
2k views

Is there an accepted rule for naming all of our various distant relatives (Kinship Terms)?

I’m going to the christening of my Cousin’s first son soon. What is the proper name for his relation to me? 2nd Nephew? Nephew once removed? Nothing? Looking at the overall picture, whats the ...