Your father's father is called your grand-father, yet your father's uncle is typically called your great-uncle (or so it seems with anybody I converse with). Why the inconsistency?


There is no inconsistency. Grand is always used for "parent of a parent". Beyond that, great- and grand- mean the same thing. Your grandfather's brother is your great-uncle, grand-uncle, or granduncle.

It has been brought up in the comments that granduncle (written) is archaic everywhere, while grand-uncle (spoken) is archaic in Britain. I'm not sure if it's archaic in America too (I swear I've heard it), but you will not go wrong if you always use great-uncle.

| improve this answer | |
  • Curious, what does the "once removed" or "twice removed" mean? – Adam Aug 18 '14 at 19:54
  • once removed = 1 generation above or below. So my first cousin's son is my first cousin, once removed. That person's son is my first cousin, twice removed. – user428517 Aug 18 '14 at 19:56
  • aaand i just realized that doesn't apply here. not sure what i was thinking, but it's just grand uncle in this case. no removal. sorry about that. – user428517 Aug 18 '14 at 19:58
  • Thanks, I appreciate it. Not sure why you got downvoted. – Adam Aug 18 '14 at 19:59
  • 1
    @ws2 yes, i already corrected my answer ... – user428517 Aug 18 '14 at 20:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.