Nephew and niece
A nephew is a son of a person's sibling, and a niece is a daughter of a person's sibling. As types of second-degree relatives, a person will typically share 25% of his or her DNA with a niece or nephew. The terms are also used colloquially for sons and daughters of siblings-in-law, even though there is no blood relation.
The word nephew is derived from the French word neveu which is derived from the Latin nepotem. The term 'nepotism', meaning familial loyalty, comes from the Latin term for a nephew. Niece entered Middle English from the Old French word nece, which also derives from Latin nepotem. The word nibling is neologism suggested by Samuel Martin in 1951 as a cover term for "nephew or niece"; it is uncommon outside of specialist literature.
Historically, a nephew was the logical recipient of his uncle's inheritance if there was no son or daughter, although in some northern Bangladeshi societies, a nephew takes precedence over a daughter, while in segments of medieval English law, nephews were also at times favored over daughters. In social environments that lacked a stable home or habituation such as refugee situations, uncles and fathers would equally be assigned responsibility for their sons and nephews.
Among parents, some cultures have assigned equal status to daughters and nieces in their social status. This is for instance the case in Indian communities in the Mauritius, and the Thai Nakhon Phanom Province, where the transfer of cultural knowledge such as weaving was distributed equally among daughters, nieces and nieces-in-law by the Tai So community, and some Garifuna people that would transmit languages to their nieces. In some proselytizing communities the term niece was informally extended to include non-related younger female community members as a form of endearment. Among some tribes in Manus Province of Papua New Guinea, women's roles as sisters, daughters and nieces may have taken precedence over their marital status in social importance.
In some cultures and family traditions, it's common to refer to one's first cousin once removed (the child of one's cousin), as a niece or nephew. In archaic terminology, a maternal nephew is called a sister-son, emphasizing the importance as a person's nearest male relative should he have no brothers or sons of his own. Sister-son is used to describe some knights who are nephews to King Arthur and is imitated by J. R. R. Tolkien, especially in lists of Kings of Rohan or dwarves where the sister-son is also heir. Sister-daughter is a less common parallel term for niece.
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|Look up nephew in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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- Dictionary.com, "nephew," in Dictionary.com Unabridged. Source location: Random House, Inc. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved: January 1, 2011