One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Kind and friendly towards a younger or less experienced person.‘he was avuncular, reassuring, and trustworthy’
paternal, fatherlikeView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘He long ago ditched the specs, shaved off his whiskers and now has a rather kindly avuncular air.’
- ‘You begin to read his column, expecting to find something as smooth as his preppy clothes, as reassuring as the photograph's avuncular smile.’
- ‘An avuncular African doctor had the time to be reassuring and overflowing with human kindness.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘But he was very friendly in a slightly bumbling avuncular sort of way.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘It seemed to flow from who he was, and mimicked the style of a particularly witty and avuncular friend.’
- ‘He has an avuncular, precociously adult manner of speaking - like a tweedy professor with elbow patches.’
- ‘His friendly avuncular bearded figure was recognised throughout the town.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘They think it's some nice warm country with an avuncular leader who likes baseball and he runs a collective farms.’
- ‘When the Broadway pro learned that his young visitor wanted to write musicals, he offered avuncular encouragement and advice.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘But he's just the warmest, most avuncular guy - it was a real privilege.’
- ‘He has ‘cult leader’ written all over him: a friendly Nebraska drawl, intent eyes, an avuncular air.’
- ‘Since he had put the point in a friendly, avuncular way, I asked him about something that had long puzzled me.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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’.’
Relating to the relationship between men and the children of their siblings.
Mid 19th century: from Latin avunculus ‘maternal uncle’, diminutive of avus ‘grandfather’.
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