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 aunt? I know that in theory, she would have been my aunt had he lived and they stayed married. But since I was never alive at the same time as my uncle, and since she's remarried, is she still and aunt, and is her husband an uncle? I know colloquially "aunt" and "uncle" can be used regardless of blood or marriage relationship, my question pertained more to the technicality. It just seems weird that my cousins' mother isn't my aunt, but I'm just not sure. Thanks!

  • 3
    An interesting philosophical question, but I don't think it really fits in the scope of language usage. As you pointed out, 'aunt' can be used regardless of technical relationship, and the dictionary definition, "the wife of one's uncle" does not go into depth about whether the marriage need be current.
    – Lynn
    May 5, 2015 at 3:23
  • 1
    Is she still your father's sister-in-law? Your uncle's wife?
    – Neil W
    May 5, 2015 at 12:43
  • I agree it's an interesting question. Unfortunately, any answer will be opinion-based.
    – Centaurus
    May 6, 2015 at 0:31

3 Answers 3


Yes, she is still your aunt; what else could you possibly call the mother of your cousins?

But her new husband is not your uncle. He is your "aunt's husband", or, if you prefer, "step-uncle".


In terms of kinship, there are various ways of thinking about it. By all accounts, she started out as your father's sister-in-law.

Legally speaking, her marriage to your uncle ended upon his death. This is evident as she is legally allowed to seek another husband in marriage. Since she would typically have no blood-relationship (consanguinity) to you, it could be said she is no longer your aunt.

Familial/emotional ties, however, are not typically broken upon death, even moreso when she is blood-related to someone you are blood-related to (i.e. your first cousins, the children of your father's brother). Thus, it is still customary to refer to her as your aunt.

As to her new husband, he is not in any way related to you legally or by blood. Depending on your relationship with your aunt, it would not be out of the ordinary to call him Uncle, or simply refer to him by name; it comes down to personal preference.


She was never your aunt.

The spouse of an aunt or uncle, is not an uncle or aunt.

She's just an aunt-by-marriage.

Sure, you can call her your "Aunty" (hell, I call my Aunt Sheila my Aunty, no relation to the woman at all!) but she has no relation to you. You could marry her, as with a sister-in-law.

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