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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 30% 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.
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.
- The dictionary definition of uncle at Wiktionary
- The dictionary definition of granduncle at Wiktionary
- The dictionary definition of great-uncle at Wiktionary