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Uncle (from Latin: avunculus the diminutive of avus "grandfather") is a male family relationship or kinship within an extended or immediate family. An uncle is the brother, half-brother, step-brother, or brother-in-law of one's parent. A biological uncle is a second degree male relative and shares 25% genetic overlap. However people who are not a biological uncle, are sometimes affectionately called as an uncle, as a title of admiration and respect.
A great-uncle (sometimes written as great uncle, grand-uncle or granduncle) is the brother or brother-in-law of one's grandparent.
- 1 Cultural variations
- 2 Uncles in popular culture
- 3 See also
- 4 Sources
- 5 External links
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, and even sometimes total strangers). Using the term in this way is a form of fictive kinship.
Albanian, Slavic, and Persian
In some cultures, like Albanian, Slavic, or Persian, 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 ("dajë" in Albanian language, "daiyee" in Persian) or a person's kinship to their father's brother ("xhajë" in Albanian, "amou" in Persian). An analogous differentiation exists using separate terms to describe a person's kinship to their mother's female sibling, ("teze" in Albanian, "khaleh" in Persian), and a person's kinship to their father's female sibling, ("hallë" in Albanian, "ammeh" in Persian).
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.
Uncles in popular culture
Due to the loving image of an old but wise and friendly uncle in many cultures the word has been used as a loving nickname for many people. In Tibetan mythology Akhu Tönpa (Uncle Tompa) is a familiar and well-beloved figure. The American national personification Uncle Sam serves as an allegorical fatherly figure to many Americans. The American wrestler Stanley C. Frazier used Uncle Elmer as his nickname. Various children's TV hosts have used uncle as their nickname, including Walt Disney (Uncle Walt), Bob Davidse (Nonkel Bob, literally Uncle Bob), Edwin Rutten (who hosted a children's show named De Show van Ome Willem (The Show of Uncle Willem). The Dutch poet Ome Ko also used uncle as part of his pseudonym.
Rich, wise or otherwise eccentric uncles are also popular in works of fiction.
Fictional uncles in comics
- Nonkel Fillemon in Urbanus.
- Nonkel Vital in De Kiekeboes.
- Ome Arie, character in Sjors en Sjimmie.
- Oncle Paul, the title character in a Belgian comics series.
- Ben Parker, a.k.a. Uncle Ben, the uncle of Spider-Man.
- Scrooge McDuck, a.k.a. Uncle Scrooge from the Donald Duck comics.
- Uncle Choi by Hui Guan-man.
- Uncle Phil in Mickey Finn. 
Fictional uncles in novels
- Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl.
- Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris.
- Uncle Tom by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
- Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov.
- Uncle Wiggily by Howard R. Garis.
Fictional uncles in music
- Ome Henk, a Dutch comedic character around whom many novelty singles and audio plays have been created.
- Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, a British rock band.
- "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney.
- Uncle Anesthesia by Screaming Trees.
- "Uncle Arthur", a song by David Bowie.
- Uncle Ernie, a character in The Who's rock opera Tommy.
- Uncle Jam Wants You by Funkadelic.
- Uncle John & Whitelock, a Scottish punk band.
- Uncle Meat by Frank Zappa.
- "Uncle Pen" by Bill Monroe.
- Uncle Wiggly, a U.S. rock band.
Fictional uncles in films
- Uncle Buck, played by John Candy in the 1989 eponymous film.
- Uncle Fucker, character and song in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.
Fictional uncles in TV series
- Corrado "Junior" Soprano, in the television series The Sopranos, referred to as "Uncle June" by his nephew Tony Soprano.
- Uncle Deadly, a character in The Muppet Show.
- Uncle Fester, a character in The Addams Family.
- Uncle Grandpa, a character in the eponymous TV series.
- Uncle Max, a character in the eponymous TV series.
- Uncle Ruckus, a character in the television series The Boondocks. No relation.