Questions about kinship terms (words for family members).

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

65
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
52
votes
12answers
5k views

A way of describing the lesbian parent that is not pregnant?

A friend of mine is in a long term relationship with her female partner. After deciding they wanted a family, my friend's girlfriend got pregnant. Normally when talking about a couple expecting a ...
22
votes
11answers
6k views

Why doesn't the English language have distinct words to use when talking to elders? [closed]

In many of the languages that I've studied there are separate distinctions in the words to use when talking to elders and when talking to someone of your age or younger. For e.g. in Hindi, if I ...
20
votes
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 ...
20
votes
6answers
1k views

Paucity of words for relationships

Please refer the following questions asked elsewhere on this site: Is there a word that means "the wife of one's brother"? What is the relationship name of my wife's brother to me? ...
16
votes
3answers
4k 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.
16
votes
1answer
312 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
132k 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 ...
14
votes
9answers
33k views

Is there a more concise term for a long-term girlfriend/boyfriend than “significant other”?

I've been together with my boyfriend for around 9 years now. There are times when I want to communicate that I am referring to someone who plays a major role in my life, like that of a husband, and ...
14
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
121k views

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

Granddad or Grand-dad or Grandad? Which is the correct spelling?
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Is the “female” in “female cousin” redundant here?

"My female cousin working for a finance company was dismissed. Disappeared along with her job were her confidence and smiling face." There is a very complicated system in Chinese for naming ...
12
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What’s the parent of a clone called?

Let’s say X is cloned to make Y and Y is cloned to make Z. Is there a word that uniquely identifies X in relation to Y? How about identifying X in relation to Z?
11
votes
8answers
11k views

Word for grieving parents?

Is there a word that describes a parent whose child has died? Along the lines of "orphan", "widow", and "widower", is there a single word for a parent who has lost a child (of any age)?
11
votes
6answers
14k 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, ...
11
votes
1answer
8k 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.
10
votes
8answers
24k views

Word for partner you are living with but not married to

What is a word for a person you live with but are not married to? I do not mean a room mate, but rather someone you are romantically involved with. From what I understand, spouse is someone you are ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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. ...
10
votes
1answer
14k 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?
9
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a feminine equivalent to the adjective “avuncular”?

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
3k 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.
9
votes
5answers
15k views

Is there a word meaning “my child's spouse's parents”?

If I am introducing someone to my daughter's husband's parents can I say "Hi, I'd like to you meet my ___". In-laws would not work here because they are my child's in-laws not my own. Is there a word ...
8
votes
3answers
439 views

My family vs. my family

Is there any lingual way to differentiate between the family that I’m a child of and the family that I am a parent of? (I.e., the first family consists of my parents, my siblings, and me; the second ...
7
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
12k views

Term for relationship to cousin's child [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there an accepted rule for naming all of our various distant relatives (Kinship Terms)? My relationship to my cousin's dad is nephew-uncle. My relationship to my ...
7
votes
7answers
56k views

Name for the relationship of wife’s sister’s husband

Is there a name for the relationship of my wife’s sister’s husband in English? Or in case of a lady, what is the relationship of her husband’s brother’s wife called? There are words for these ...
7
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
7
votes
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?
7
votes
1answer
888 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)?
7
votes
7answers
15k views

What is the female equivalent for “uxorious”?

I know the word uxorious that is used to describe a husband who dotes on his wife excessively. What is the corresponding word for a wife who loves her husband dearly? I cannot pull anything out of my ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What do people usually mean when they ask “Do you have a family?”

When American people ask you, "Do you have a family?" does that mean "Do you have any children?" or just "Are you married?"
7
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the relationship name of my sibling-in-law's sibling to me?

For example: I have a sister named Charlotte. Charlotte is married to Martin. Martin has a brother named William. Martin is my brother-in-law, but what is William to me?
6
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Word for parent of a single child?

Is there a word that means “a parent who has exactly one child”? EDIT: I am asking for purposes of creating a computing construct. But if there were an answer that is clearly correct for another ...
6
votes
4answers
16k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Capitalization of “sister” and “brother”

I have seen the question on when to capitalize mom and dad, but I am confused why the rule would not apply equally to Brother vs. brother and Sister vs. sister. I.e., if the rule is to use capitals ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Word/phrase for parent whose children have grown up and left home [closed]

Is there a single word or phrase that means a parent whose grown-up children are not living with them?
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Is there a special English name for one’s mother’s sister’s son? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Family Relationships My friend is trying to find out what is needed to apply for a work visa in Canada. You get extra points for having a relative with citizenship. ...
5
votes
5answers
995 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
270 views

My uncle's widow remarried, Is she still my aunt? [closed]

I had an uncle (my father's brother) who I never met because he died before I was born. He has 2 kids though, my first cousins. His widow has since re-married and had 2 more children. Is she still my ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Term for one brother–sister pair marrying another?

While translating a book on the aboriginal people of northwest India, I came across a tradition of marriages, where one brother–sister pair were married to another brother–sister pair, as well as many ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the adjective of “daughter-in-law” if she is “the wife of my younger son”?

Here, I am confused. I cannot say "younger daughter-in-law" as the order of sons is defined by their age but we can't say that about their wives. So shall I say "my second daughter-in-law"?
5
votes
3answers
3k views

What should one call his or her mother-in-law? [closed]

We call our own mother "mum". What should we call our mother-in-law? In China, we call our mother-in-law "mum" as well. Do English speaking people feel comfortable calling their mother-in-law "mum"? ...
5
votes
3answers
287 views

A word for someone who you share a half-sibling with

This is probably best explained with an example. Alice and Bob have a child, Erin. Bob and Carol have a child, Frank. Carol and Dan have a child, Grace. Clearly, Erin and Frank are half-siblings, ...
4
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Word to describe gay people who are in a relationship with each other

Can I use these words? A gay couple (not sure if couple can be used only for married people) A gay lovers (not sure if I should put s here or if lovers can be used to describe two people ...
4
votes
3answers
19k 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?