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For other uses, see Sister (disambiguation).
"Sisters" redirects here. For other uses, see Sisters (disambiguation).

A sister is the female sibling.


Two child sisters, circa 1911.
Three sisters, circa 1902.

The term sister comes from Old Norse systir which itself derives from Proto-Germanic *swestēr, both of whom have the same meaning, i.e. sister. Some studies have found that sisters display more traits indicating jealousy around their siblings than their male counterparts, brothers.[1] In some cultures, sisters are afforded a role of being under the protection by male siblings, especially older brothers from issues ranging from bullies or sexual advances by womanizers.[2] In some quarters the term sister has gradually broadened its colloquial meaning to include individuals stipulating kinship.[3] In response, in order to avoid equivocation, some publishers prefer the usage of female sibling over sister.[4]


Various studies have shown that an older sister is likely to give a varied gender role to their younger siblings as well as being more likely to develop a close bond with their younger siblings.[5] Older sisters are more likely to play with their younger siblings.[6] Younger siblings display a more needy behavior when in close proximity to their older sister[7] and are more likely to be tolerant of an older sisters bad behavior.[8] Boys with only an older sister are more likely to display stereotypically male behavior, and such masculine boys increased their masculine behavior with the more sisters they have.[9] The reverse is true for young boys with several sisters, as they tend to be feminine, however they outgrow this by the time they approach pubescence.[10] Boys with older sisters were less likely to be delinquent or have emotional and behavioral disorders.[11] A younger sister is less likely to be scolded by older siblings than a younger brother.[12] The most common recreational activity between older brother/younger sister pairs was art drawing.[5] Some studies also found a correlation between having an older sister and constructive discussions about safe sexual practises.[13] Some studies have shown that men without sisters are more likely to be ineffectual at courtship.[14]

Famous sisters[edit]

Further information: conjoined twins

Fictional works about sisters[edit]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ Volling, B. L.; McElwain, N.L.; Miller, A.L. (2002). "Emotion Regulation in Context: The Jealousy Complex between Young Siblings and its Relations with Child and Family Characteristics". Child Development 73 (2): 581–600.
  2. ^ Handbook of Cultural Psychiatry - Page 67, Wen-Shing Tseng - 2001
  3. ^ van der Burghe, Pierre (1987). The Ethnic Phenomenon. p. 27. 
  4. ^ Olshewsky, Thomas (1969). Problems in the philosophy of language. p. 286. 
  5. ^ a b Gender - Page 53, Leanne Franklin - 2012
  6. ^ Play from Birth to Twelve: Contexts, Perspectives, and Meanings, , Doris Bergen 2015
  7. ^ Sisters and Brothers - Page 78, Judy Dunn - 1985
  8. ^ The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science, Volume 4, Charles B. Nemeroff, 2002 p 1524
  9. ^ Gender Development - Page 300,Lynn S. Liben - 2009
  10. ^ Gender Development, Sheri A. Berenbaum, 2013
  11. ^ Advances in Child Development and Behavior, Volume 26, p 161, 1996
  12. ^ He & she: how children develop their sex role identity, Wendy Schempp Matthews - 1979 p 162
  13. ^ Handbook of Adolescent Psychology, Contextual Influences on Adolescent Development, Laurence Steinberg, PhD - 2009 p 61
  14. ^ Leventhal, Gerald S. "Influence of brothers and sisters on sex-role behavior." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 16.3 (1970): 452.

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of sister at Wiktionary