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62

English is polite by default, it's other languages that are optionally rude. You raised the polite/rude second pronoun example; well English used to have thou in addition to you. Thou was used by superiors to inferiors, or if you wanted to be rude, whereas you was used when respect is given. Over time, upper class people tended to use polite pronouns like ...


44

There seems to be no "official" word. You will find " nibling ", by analogy with sibling. (But it is mentioned only in the "New Words & Slang" section of Merriam-Webster, or in site like urbandictionary.com) This thread also mentions: that there is no encompassing word for aunt/uncle either that there is no male/female form of cousin. the article ...


43

This comes up a lot with cousin as many other languages have more words for different types of cousin than English, though not always in the same way as you say for the Chinese languages. Generally, we just say "cousin" unless it's particularly relevant. If it was relevant we might be happy enough that the subsequent her does indicate her being female. We ...


39

English is not intrinsically rude, it's just that certain social assumptions are not built in, as they are in Hindi. Instead, deference is optional. As user21820's answer states, there are various ways of showing deference (to one's elders, if one wishes), such as honorifics. Choice of words means a lot, as does various phrasing choices. For instance, "I'm ...


36

Your cousin's first son is your first cousin once removed. It is quite confusing!


34

Using the inverted-gender pronoun for the partner in a homosexual relationship who is not physically pregnant is entirely sensible, although a bit odd. If you want an alternative, parent-to-be is a fair term which is not mismatched on gender and does not include the same health restrictions as mother-to-be. Of course, one wonders how you would describe a ...


33

The non-birthing part of a lesbian relationship having a child is often called the co-mother (last sense—ignore the previous senses, they're very rare in normal settings, at least in my experience). So your friend would be a co-mother-to-be or (perhaps less likely to make you suffer a hyphen overdose) expecting co-mother.


32

X is "the only child" of his parents, and "an only child" along with Y and Z. Similarly, I am "the" elder child of my parents and "an" elder (and eldest) child along with bunches of other people. One refers to the specific situation; the other refers to the classification. Edited to add: Consider the following examples: "The": Census interviewer: Do ...


31

That would be sister-in-law: sister of one's spouse, the wife of one's brother, or sometimes the wife of one's spouse's brother. Edit: as ShreevatsaR points out in the comments, if you're looking for a single word that means only "wife of one's brother" and nothing else, then you're out of luck.


26

Perhaps something mildly humorous might do the trick. For instance: "We're pregnant, but I'm still allowed to drink and go bungee-jumping". "We decided that as I was better at rugby than her, she'd be the one taking a break". "It turns out I'm having to drink for two".


25

In Britain, it is normally partner. However, other half is common too. It connotes being half of a couple, which may be just what you want.


23

Empty nester might be of your interest, although it's not that formal.


17

For formal writing, betrothed would be my number one choice. But, as Lunatik already gave that answer, I'll provide some more: spouse-to-be (instead of the gender-specific wife-to-be and husband-to-be), future spouse, prospective spouse, intended (date and informal). Of course, it's much easier to refer to use adjectives and refer to the couple as a whole, ...


16

It's very easy to determine the relationship in English. First, find your common ancestor. Siblings have the same father, cousins have the same grandfather, etc. Same grandfather means First cousin. Same great-grandfather means second cousin. Same great-great-grandfather means third cousin. If you are not in the same generation, pick the shortest one, ...


15

It comes from Middle English modyr in lawe. As far as I understand it, the term was first used in the 14th or 15th century. The idea behind it is that your mother-in-law has the same rights and duties as your biological mother and is given these rights and duties by the legal pact of marriage.


14

She would feel a "sisterly love" — the love of a sister — for her brother. A mother feels "motherly love" for her children, etc. The reason for possible confusion stems from the use of "brotherly love" to describe in a general way the love of human beings for each other, similar to the way "mankind" also includes women.


14

You have noticed a very peculiar aspect of English vocabulary. As rich as it is in comparison to many other languages, due to its almost creole history, it really is impoverished in comparison to other languages in kinship terms. But 'why' is always a difficult question, especially when mixed with cultural questions. There are the difficulties with ...


14

English is just a language and cannot be rude; it is the people who use it who might be rude (intentionally or otherwise). One can use the modal "could": Could you do it? Adding various phrases are also recommended as basic courtesy: Could you please do it? Could you do it, please? To address adults: Sir/Madam, could you please do it? ...


13

It seems you interpreted this passage incorrectly. The elder twin is the one who was born first (earliest) chronologically. The narrator is lamenting the fact that the wise younger twin, Arabella, was born second, as her twin sibling seems to be making a mess of the inheritance process.


13

According to Google NGram, in British English the spelling "grandad" is more popular than "granddad", however American English, the spelling "granddad" is more popular than "grandad". American English: British English:


12

Talking about the archaic use of bastard to mean “illegitimate child”, it is not specifically masculine. One can talk about a “bastard daugther” just as much as one can talk of a “bastard son” or “bastard child”, as Google ngram shows. Well, not as much, because lineage or legitimacy is not nearly as important for daughters as it is for sons, but still, such ...


12

"Dad" is a specific reference (when you say it you mean somebody different from when I say it), so it gets capitalized like any proper noun. On the other hand, "dad" is a common noun meaning "father" (anybody's). You only use disambiguators like "my" or "a" with common nouns ("my dad", but not "my Dad" just like you wouldn't say "my John Smith"). So the ...


12

I don't think there's a single word on the order of orphan and widow/widower. I would say bereaved parents.


12

There's not really one that I'm aware of-- or one that at least, as you said, doesn't carry other strange connotations with it or isn't long/awkward/wordy. Honestly, I would just recommend 'boyfriend' for everyday use. I know it sounds a little juvenile (I've been with my girlfriend for much less time than you and it already feels a little insufficient), ...


11

I suspect they are, too - you'll be having co-son and co-son's mate next! Seriously, you are talking about in-laws here. From Wikipedia: A brother-in-law (plural brothers-in-law) is the brother of one's spouse, the husband of one's sibling, the husband of one's spouse's sibling [relevant in the first case you mention], or the brother of one's sibling's ...


11

Perhaps the closest is uniparous: (of certain animals) producing a single offspring at each birth (of a woman) having borne only one child botany (of a cyme) giving rise to only one branch from each flowering stem From Parity (biology) also primipara: a woman who has borne but one child or who is parturient for the first time.


11

It is "cousin once removed". See the nifty chart: (chart credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:European_kinship_system_en.svg) To summarize, what you do is, you take whatever relation you are to the person in his direct ancestry of the same generation as you, and that's the "base" of the relationship; then, however many generations you had to move to ...


11

People have used "sistern" for this. The first use I find in Google books is from 1739: That there were 20 Bretheren and Siſtern on their Bead Roll, I suspect this plural was invented to serve as a parallel to "brethren"; I did not find it in the dictionaries I checked, and it is a much rarer word than "brethren". UPDATE: as Unreason points out, I ...


11

I've not seen the movie, but the word brother itself doesn't indicate whether the sibling is elder or younger. If the girl did immediately know the brother was older, she must have been able to infer it from context or have some a priori knowledge. Usually when you need to specify the relative age of a sibling, you'll use something like: my ...


11

"Adults". The word "adult" does not imply that one is a parent, so there is no need for a word that describes a childless adult.



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