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 wife)

  • I edited your title to be clearer. "Looking for a word" doesn't quite give enough information. – Robusto Feb 14 '11 at 12:38
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    Are you looking for a word that in English specifically means my brother's wife, or for a word that is understood to mean my brother's wife? – kiamlaluno Feb 14 '11 at 14:29
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    Although English is not derived from Latin, both English and Latin derive from the same language: Proto-Indo-European. Many of the English and Latin kinship terms have roots that go back that far: father/pater, frater/brother, mater/mother. So, the English kinship terms might generally have more in common with Latin than, say, Turkish or Korean kinship terms. (That said, the thousands of intervening years do leave room for divergence!) – Kosmonaut Feb 14 '11 at 14:45
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    Interesting bit about Latin and kinship pronouns...Latin DOES have different ones for uncle aunt. I can't remember the aunt ones off the top of my head, but your mother's brother is avunculus, and your father's brother is patruus. It's interesting to me that patruus, in Latin, also carries the meaning of "severe reprover" (at least according to Wiktionary), while in English, at least, "avuncular" means 'in the manner of a friendly uncle'. I can't imagine what it was in Latin society that made your Dad's brother a jerk, and Mom's brother a buddy. – Chris B. Behrens Feb 14 '11 at 15:35

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.

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    I think the OP is looking for a word that specifically means the wife of one's brother and not, say, the sister of one's spouse, in which case the answer is that no such word exists in English. – ShreevatsaR Feb 14 '11 at 12:43
  • @ShreevatsaR: good point. Amending. – RegDwigнt Feb 14 '11 at 12:59

Sister-in-law: it can be the sister of your spouse, or the wife of your brother or brother-in-law.

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  • Sister-in-law is an English word, which has basically originated from Latin. – ikartik90 Feb 14 '11 at 12:44
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    @ikartik: The OP didn't ask for an English word without Latin origin. Anyway, sister derives from a Germanic word, which shares its root with a Latin word. – kiamlaluno Feb 14 '11 at 12:55

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