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If my brother and I shared a womb during gestation (as humans) we're twins. If there was another sibling in there we're triplets.. and so on, but is there a general term to describe us irrespective of how many of us there were?

I know we're siblings, but I'm curious if there's a word analogous to siblings that refers specifically to members of a single human litter.

For that matter is there an alternate word for a human litter? Or is it correct to refer to triplets as a litter?

  • So you want a word for a "member of a multiple birth" rather than sibling, "member of multiple children"? [This comment might answer your supplementary question, I suppose] – Andrew Leach May 26 '14 at 19:45
  • @AndrewLeach, yes, I'm hoping there's such a word. I'm actually looking to use it in a technical biological context; describing research to be done on [siblings gestated simultaneously in the womb]. Was wondering if there's a more elegant way to describe them. edit Ah! so "multiple birth" refers to a human litter. Excellent... 1/2 the problem is solved :) – Dr.Dredel May 26 '14 at 19:48
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    May I coin the word wombmate? – 200_success May 27 '14 at 1:21
  • wombfellow sounds more distingished. – Oldcat May 27 '14 at 19:25
  • I think describing a multiple human birth as a litter is likely to get you a smack in the mouth by the mom. – Oldcat May 27 '14 at 19:26
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Siblings from a multiple birth are called multiples. Three or more offspring from the same birth are called higher-order multiples. For describing specific numbers of offspring, the terms are singlets (1), twins (2), triplets (3), quadruplets (4), quintuplets (5), sextuplets (6), septuplets (7), and octuplets (8). (Multiples higher than this are almost impossible for humans.)

  • @Dr.Dredel My pleasure. I was hoping that the term would utilize the suffix -tuplets, but alas, it does not. – Theodore Broda May 26 '14 at 20:04
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    Multuplets really should be a word. Or multipluplets. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 26 '14 at 20:59
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    Yes, but He's my multiple would not be understood without context, whereas He's my twin would. (I'm not sure about He's my triplet - I would expect He's one of my triplets, but even that does not seem quite natural). – Colin Fine May 26 '14 at 21:17
  • @ColinFine You are right; because of the many denotations of multiple, if someone said He's my multiple, he would probably be met with perplexed looks. (In fact, because a multiple usually means "something in units of more than one or two", he and his sibling may be mistaken as clones!) – Theodore Broda May 26 '14 at 21:20
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    Better than multuplets would be just tuplets. He and she are my tuplets... and there are even more of us! – Drew May 26 '14 at 22:26
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I don't think you'll find a more well defined term than litter, which is surprising as human tend to like to distance themselves from the rest of the mammals.

Littermate is the word for an individual offspring born in one litter, regardless of which species of mammal.

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    Yes, but it would be exceedingly odd (to the degree that I would expect it not to be understood) if used of humans. – Colin Fine May 26 '14 at 21:16
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A pluriparity

Pluriparous: Being the mother of two or more children

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    That doesn’t apply if the litter is only one child, so it’s not quite irrespective of how many there are. Also, pluriparity describes the mother, not the litter/children. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 26 '14 at 20:58
  • @Third News, is there an adjective for being the kind of person who offers useful looking answers on Stack that upon closer examination bear no actual relevance to the original question? ;-) – Dr.Dredel May 26 '14 at 23:00
  • @Dr.Dredel yes, there is ;-) – Third News May 26 '14 at 23:16
  • @ Janus Bahs Jacquet does a litter apply to one offspring? Hmm.... – Third News May 27 '14 at 2:36

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