Definition of avuncular in English:



  • 1Kind and friendly towards a younger or less experienced person.

    ‘he was avuncular, reassuring, and trustworthy’
    • ‘You begin to read his column, expecting to find something as smooth as his preppy clothes, as reassuring as the photograph's avuncular smile.’
    • ‘I would wonder in this frame of sub-consciousness whether or not the people around me would remember me as an avuncular and benevolent person after I entered the pearly gates of heaven.’
    • ‘He has ‘cult leader’ written all over him: a friendly Nebraska drawl, intent eyes, an avuncular air.’
    • ‘When the Broadway pro learned that his young visitor wanted to write musicals, he offered avuncular encouragement and advice.’
    • ‘His friendly avuncular bearded figure was recognised throughout the town.’
    • ‘They think it's some nice warm country with an avuncular leader who likes baseball and he runs a collective farms.’
    • ‘He has an avuncular, precociously adult manner of speaking - like a tweedy professor with elbow patches.’
    • ‘Despite failure in South Africa Buller never lost popularity with the rank and file and the public: his heavy build and avuncular manner were seen as reflecting ‘the best English type’.’
    • ‘A droll, unassuming man with a handsome gray beard, Baker has the manner of an avuncular, absent-minded professor who has left something behind on the way to class.’
    • ‘An avuncular African doctor had the time to be reassuring and overflowing with human kindness.’
    • ‘But he's just the warmest, most avuncular guy - it was a real privilege.’
    • ‘He was labelled ‘Sunny Jim’, but he had a fierce temper, and his patience, despite his seemingly easy-going avuncular manner and soft West Country drawl, was easily frayed.’
    • ‘The avuncular Sam, understanding how much they like each other as well as the ambitions that are driving them both, urges them to be civilized and be nice to each other.’
    • ‘He long ago ditched the specs, shaved off his whiskers and now has a rather kindly avuncular air.’
    • ‘But he was very friendly in a slightly bumbling avuncular sort of way.’
    • ‘It seemed to flow from who he was, and mimicked the style of a particularly witty and avuncular friend.’
    • ‘Outside, a golden sun warms the autumn leaves; inside, he busies himself in avuncular manner, serving tea and ginger cake in his book-lined room.’
    • ‘The playwright, who at 48 is 15 years Lane's senior, has an avuncular attitude towards the actor, who in turn looks at him with obvious respect.’
    • ‘Since he had put the point in a friendly, avuncular way, I asked him about something that had long puzzled me.’
    • ‘Towards the end of on uncharacteristically orderly day, the avuncular former dictator once again grabbed center stage, accusing his American captors of mistreatment, beatings, even torture.’
    paternal, fatherlike
    View synonyms
  • 2Anthropology
    Relating to the relationship between men and the children of their siblings.


Mid 19th century: from Latin avunculus ‘maternal uncle’, diminutive of avus ‘grandfather’.