from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A child of one's aunt or uncle. Also called first cousin.
  • n. A relative descended from a common ancestor, such as a grandparent, by two or more steps in a diverging line.
  • n. A relative by blood or marriage; a kinsman or kinswoman.
  • n. A member of a kindred group or country: our Canadian cousins.
  • n. Something similar in quality or character: "There's no mistaking soca for its distant Jamaican cousin, reggae” ( Michael Saunders).
  • n. Used as a form of address by a sovereign in addressing another sovereign or a high-ranking member of the nobility.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The son or daughter of a person’s uncle or aunt; a first cousin.
  • n. Any relation who is not a direct ancestor or descendant; one more distantly related than an uncle, aunt, granduncle, grandaunt, nephew, niece, grandnephew, grandniece, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One collaterally related more remotely than a brother or sister; especially, the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt.
  • n. A title formerly given by a king to a nobleman, particularly to those of the council. In English writs, etc., issued by the crown, it signifies any earl.
  • n. Allied; akin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In general, one collaterally related by blood more remotely than a brother or sister; a relative; a kinsman or kinswoman; hence, a term of address used by a king to a nobleman, particularly to one who is a member of the council, or to a fellow-sovereign.
  • n. Specifically, in modern usage The son or daughter of an uncle or an aunt, or one related by descent in a diverging line from a known common ancestor. The children of brothers and sisters are called cousins, cousins german, first cousins, or full cousins; children of first cousins are called second cousins, etc. Often, however, the term second cousin is loosely applied to the son or daughter of a cousin german, more properly called a first cousin once removed.
  • Allied; kindred.
  • To call “cousin”; claim kindred with. See cousin, n.
  • An obsolete spelling of cozen.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the child of your aunt or uncle


Middle English cosin, a relative, from Old French, from Latin cōnsōbrīnus, cousin : com-, com- + sōbrīnus, cousin on the mother's side; see swesor- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French cosin, from Latin consobrinus, from com- + sobrinus. (Wiktionary)



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  • The Century Dictionary tells us that nuncle "was the licensed appellation given by a fool to his master or superior, the fools themselves calling one another cousin.'

    March 16, 2012