For instance if I have two younger sisters, named Alice, and Becky, for example. How do I describe the sister who is not youngest, but the other younger sister?

Becky is my youngest sister. Alice is my next youngest sister? Least Young? Sister of penultimate youngness?

It gets worse if I have a third sister (Carly), whose age is between mine and Alice's. Now I need to refer to not only the sister who is older than Becky and Alice, but younger than I am.

Or is there no succinct way to express this? I tried to explain this concept to a French teacher once, but struggled to express it in English, and it's bothered me ever since.

Edit, to clear things up. I'm male. There's 3 sisters, and one brother.

5 Answers 5


Alice is my next youngest sister works if you have already said Becky is my youngest sister, while Alice is my second youngest sister works on its own.

Note that youngest does not imply younger than me. My youngest sister is older than me but younger than our eldest sister.

  • I've always inferred that youngest sister to mean the sibling who is youngest and my sister, with the connotation that the sister is younger than I am. Second youngest seems to work fine though. Dec 8, 2011 at 18:02

Of course penultimate means last-but-one, that is, "coming next-to-last in a sequence", so one could say that Alice is the penultimate youngest, and Carly the penultimate oldest sister, but both of those are clumsier than "second youngest", "next younger", and so forth.

  • Is it not clear in the question the ages would go: Mine, Carly, Alice, Becky? That would make Carly the penultimate eldest, and the eldest sister. Dec 8, 2011 at 18:06
  • Yes, the M-C-A-B order is clear. What isn't clear is whether Carly is the penultimate oldest sister among four sisters, or the oldest sister among three sisters and a brother. Dec 8, 2011 at 18:14

I would say that Becky is my youngest sister, Alice is my second-youngest, and Carly is my third youngest sister.

  • 1
    Each to their own, I guess. I'd say "I have three younger sisters. Carly is the oldest and Becky the youngest. The middle one is called Alice". That gets all the information across, including the fact that OP is older than all of them. Dec 8, 2011 at 21:34

Try this:

  • Becky is my youngest sister.
  • Alice is my younger sister.
  • Carly is my eldest sister, but younger than I.

You may have to clarify further, depending on how easily confused your listener may be.

  • The issue I had with that was that they are all my younger sister; all of them are younger than I am. there is a certain order to it, where you can say how much younger they are and where that places them in the 'hierarchy' (if you excuse the inelegant phrase). But yes, it really does require more detail. Dec 8, 2011 at 18:10

Becky is your youngest sister, Alice is your second youngest sister and Carly is your third youngest sister.

Or you could just use their names.

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