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

  • n. One of two or more individuals having one or both parents in common; a brother or sister.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who shares same parents. One's brother or sister.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. of or pertaining to a sibling, n.
  • n. a brother or a sister.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A member of a family born to the same parents; a brother or a sister considered without reference to sex.

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

  • n. a person's brother or sister


Middle English, from Old English, from sibb, kinsman; see sib.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1903, modern revival of Old English sibling ("relative, a relation, kinsman"), equivalent to sib +‎ -ling. Compare Middle English sib, sibbe ("relative, kinsman"). The term apparently meant merely kin or relative until the 20th century when its necessity for the study of genetics led to its broader use. For example, the OED has a 1903 citation in which "sibling" must be defined for those who don't know the intended meaning. (Wiktionary)



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  • Also used in sibling species.

    January 8, 2008

  • A very useful word and one that seems to be making a comeback. It works especially well with an adjectival function (sibling jealousy/rivalry). A bit unusual in the plural ("I have three siblings") where the speaker seems to be trying to hide something. Other European languages deal with this in different ways: in Italian your brothers and sisters are all "fratelli" (male gender still dominates) but in German they are "Geschwister" which sounds more feminine.

    January 8, 2008