My mother has a sister. That sister is then my aunt. My auntie's children are my first cousins. Is that correct? How then do I refer to my cousin's wife and their children. What is the relationship.

The sentence I wish to complete relates to the separation of my cousin and his wife. I wish to pass assurance to the wife and her daughter that they will forever be part of my family. The cousin not so much!

  • Your nth cousin's children are also your nth cousins but once removed. We would not normally refer to one's cousin's spouse by law as one's cousin.
    – tchrist
    Apr 24, 2016 at 1:00

1 Answer 1


Your aunt's children are your first cousins. Their children are your first cousins, once removed. Your cousins' spouses are your cousins-in-law or your cousins by marriage. The people I know generally dispense with such technical terms when they talk about their extended family; they just use cousins to describe the various types.

Your relationship to your relations is not governed by familial nomenclature. Notice that

You'll always remain part of my family

contains no terms of kinship.

  • 1
    Agree that your terms are correct, though I think your last sentence is key here for the OP's needs — @Phil, if you wish to show warmth to them, I don't think you get the same emotional weight from technically correct terms like "cousin-in-law"/"first cousin, once removed" here. I'd go with something along the lines of "You'll always be family to me"; the more specific *"You'll always be a cousin-in-law to me" not so much :) Apr 23, 2016 at 20:46
  • 2
    +1 I agree with the terms technically, but I call my cousins' spouses my cousins, just as I call my stepbrothers my brothers. Attitude counts more than law.
    – bib
    Apr 23, 2016 at 20:50
  • 1
    @anotherdave Good point. I've edited my answer.
    – deadrat
    Apr 23, 2016 at 21:10
  • @bib Attitude counts more than law. Except perhaps for tax law. Good point for this situation. I've edited my answer.
    – deadrat
    Apr 23, 2016 at 21:11

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