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Title: Uncle  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Family, Spouse, Supporting Healthy Marriage Project, Matriname, Extended family
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


American children with their uncle at a pool

Uncle (from Latin: avunculus "little grandfather", the diminutive of avus "grandfather") is a family relationship or kinship within an extended family. An uncle is the brother, brother-in-law or half-brother of one's parent. A biological uncle is a second degree relative and shares 25% genetic overlap.

A great-uncle (sometimes written as great uncle, grand-uncle or granduncle) is the brother or brother-in-law of one's grandparent.

A woman with an equivalent relationship is an aunt, and the reciprocal relationship is that of a nephew or niece.

In some cultures and families, children may refer to the cousins of their parents as "aunt" or "uncle". It is also a title of respect for elders (for example older cousins, neighbors, acquaintances, close family friends as well as total strangers). Using this term in this way is a form of fictive kinship.

In some cultures, like Slavic or Persian cultures, no single inclusive term describing both a person's kinship to their parental male sibling or parental male in-law exists. Instead, there are specific terms describing a person's kinship to their mother's brother ("daiyee" in Persian) or a person's kinship to their father's brother ("amou" in Persian).

An analogous differentiation exists in modern Persian using separate terms to describe a person's kinship to their mother's female sibling ("khaleh"), and a person's kinship to their father's female sibling ("ammeh").

Furthermore, in Persian culture the terms used to describe a person's kinship to their maternal or paternal in-laws bear clear and unambiguous descriptions of that relationship, differentiating the parental in-laws from blood-relatives. For example, there is a specific term describing a person's kinship to the spouse of their paternal uncle (i.e. "zan-amou", literally 'wife-of-' amou). This clarifies that kinship is to the spouse of the person's paternal male sibling, as opposed to a blood-relationship.

Uncles and aunts are considered important in modern Irish culture and are usually chosen to be godfather or godmother of children during Catholic baptism. A young Irish person might seek the counsel of their favourite aunt or uncle before making an important decision and the opinion of the respective aunt or uncle is treated seriously.

See also

External links

  • The dictionary definition of uncle at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of granduncle at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of great-uncle at Wiktionary
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