I’m trying to say that someone is a character’s ‘fake sister’ – that is, she was taken in by the character who now considers her to be as close as a sister – but it in a positive light.

Fake sister is obviously very negative; pseudo-sister is better, but still comes across as too negative for what I’m after. Step-sister won’t work because the two are not actually step-sisters.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Are they a step-sister? Or a friend that is 'like a sister to me'? Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 14:22
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    I don't think you'll get anything more idiomatic than like a sister. Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 15:59
  • 2
    Thanks for the help fellows but I've gone for "honorary sister".
    – Lazarene
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 16:49
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    Honorary sister is not a valid option for what you’re looking for here. It means something else. Honorary means that you get a title or membership without putting in the work normally required to obtain that title. If you’re an honorary sister, you’ve been made a member of a convent without actually being a nun, or you’re a man who’s been made to feel like a member of an all-girls’ group of friends, or something along those lines. Someone who’s like a sister to you is not an honorary sister. Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 17:42
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    It's worth noting that "honorary sister" are two words. In your position I would say "She's the sister I never had" or "We're closer than [real] sisters" or "blood sisters" See 2nd definition.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 19:59

4 Answers 4


perhaps you could use "soul-sister" - according to the very trustworthy Urban Dictionary a "soul-sister" is :

"Someone who fully understands you. Like a soulmate, but not someone you want to marry and make babies with. The sister of your soul."

Another option is "sisters by heart". It implies that there is no blood relation between you two, but you're close, like sisters.

  • 1
    I think this works, so +1. Can you find a better source than urban dictionary though? Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 20:57
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    Also fun, but informal: sister from another mister. Like brother from another mother not really used to talk about half-siblings.
    – sas08
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 21:26

You could try surrogate sister. Surrogate, in this case, would fall under this meaning:


1- A substitute, especially a person deputizing for another in a specific role or office.
she served as a surrogate for the President on a trip to South America

It then has the connotation as someone acting as a sister but not necessarily being one.

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    Especially a person deputizing for another in a specific role or office – that bit is quite important. A surrogate sister sounds like someone who is standing in for your real sister, implying that there is a real sister, but she is not there for whatever reason, and someone else is substituting for her. Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 17:46
  • @JanusBahsJacquet That could be positive. Then I would assume that this person is fulfilling the emotional need for this person of the sister role that is otherwise empty for whatever reason.
    – psosuna
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 17:50
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    Yes, but we don’t know whether the character in question has an actual sister. To me, this would only work if there is (or was) an actual sister. Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 17:52
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Good point. I wonder if it could work in the case of never having a sister, and feeling like there should be one.
    – psosuna
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 17:53

You could use virtual sister, The Cambridge Dictionary defines virtual as follows:

almost, but not exactly or in every way:

She was a virtual unknown before this movie.

Snow brought Minneapolis to a virtual standstill yesterday.

Using the adverb might sound better, e.g. "she was virtually his sister".


I’d go with honorary sister. I have a friend who is like a sister and I call her big sister, or MHBS - My Honorary Big Sister. She calls me little sis.

  • That's a honor of a title, but I do see it mentioned in the comments. This would benefit from a source. Please do take a tour of the site and see the help center for more information.
    – livresque
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 1:10

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