Great-aunt Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great-aunt

An aunt and her niece in Tigray, Ethiopia.

An aunt is a woman who is a sibling of a parent or married to a sibling of a parent. Aunts who are related by birth are second-degree relatives. Known alternate terms include auntie or aunty. Children in other cultures and families may refer to the cousins of their parents as aunt or uncle due to the age and generation gap.

The male counterpart of an aunt is an uncle, and the reciprocal relationship is that of a nephew or niece.

Aunts by generation

Additional terms[edit]

  • A half-aunt is a half-sister of a parent.
  • An aunt-in-law is the aunt of one's spouse. An aunt-in-law can also be an aunt by marriage (female spouse of a relative)[citation needed].
  • A great-aunt[1][2]/grandaunt[3] (sometimes written grand-aunt[4]) is the sister of one's grandparent. Despite the popular usage of great-aunt, genealogists consider it more correct to use grandaunt for a grandparent's sister to avoid confusion with earlier generations.[citation needed] Similarly, the female siblings of one's great-grandparents are referred to as great-grandaunts.[5][better source needed]

Genetics and consanguinity[edit]

Aunts by birth (sister of a parent) are related to their nieces and nephews by 25%. As half-aunts are related through half-sisters, they are related by 12.5% to their nieces and nephews. Non-consanguineous aunts (female spouse of a relative) are not genetically related to their nieces and nephews.

Cultural variations[edit]

In some cultures, no single inclusive term describing both a person's kinship to their parental female sibling or parental female in-law exists. Instead, there are specific terms describing a person's kinship to their mother's female sibling, and a person's kinship to their father's female sibling.

Terms for aunt
Language Mother's sister Father's sister
Albanian teze hallë
Kurdish Xaltîk (IPA: xɑːltiːk) Metik (IPA: mɛtɪk)
Arabic خالة (khaleh) عمّة (ammeh)
Hindi Mausi Bua
Korean 이모 (Imo) 고모 (Gomo)
Marathi Mavashi Aatya
Persian (خاله)khaleh (عمّه)ammeh
Polish ciotka (diminutive: ciocia) stryjna (diminutive: stryjenka)
Swedish moster faster

Aunts in popular culture[edit]

Aunts in popular culture have not always been portrayed as positive roles. Childless aunts are often subjected to othering in popular culture and presented as exotic or as having a second-best role, with motherhood preferred.[6]

Fictional aunts include:

Aunt Flo is a popular euphemism referring to the menstrual cycle.

An agony aunt is a colloquial term for a female advice columnist.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of great-aunt in English by Oxford Dictionaries". oxforddictionaries.com. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer of relative versions of name". Google Ngram. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Grandaunt definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Definition of grand-aunt in English by Oxford Dictionaries". oxforddictionaries.com. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Relationship Chart by Betty Eichhorn" (PDF). devonfhs.org.uk. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  6. ^ Jones, Anna. "'Aunt with no kids': The women redefining family roles". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 2021-12-13.

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of aunt at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of grandaunt at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of great-aunt at Wiktionary