Definition of fraternal in English:



  • 1Of or like a brother or brothers.

    ‘his lack of fraternal feeling shocked me’
    • ‘Sketching the plot of the film calls to mind any number of archetypal/hackneyed tales of fraternal rivalry, flight from danger, coming of age, and so on.’
    • ‘The fraternal duo have established themselves as one of Britain's most original electronic acts, gaining a reputation for excellent live shows and ambitious recordings.’
    • ‘No, it does not achieve the sensation of the friend's living embrace or the shock of a fraternal admonition.’
    • ‘Henri spent the last eleven years of his life nourishing genius, both with his cuisine and with the fraternal devotion of a big brother.’
    • ‘How I reconcile this with impending fraternal birthday present purchasing, imminent Christmas gift buying, forthcoming silly season drunkenness and my existing overdraft and credit card debt, I really do not know.’
    • ‘Our disagreements are fraternal, and we support each other whenever there are judicial problems.’
    • ‘You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.’
    • ‘He never betrayed the solemn fraternal oath he and his brothers swore before their mother Sheikha Salaama not to murder each other.’
    • ‘Again and again, the treacherous brother in the fraternal allegory puts personal, material ambition over ‘natural’ family loyalty, law and order, spiritual and communal values.’
    • ‘Here, he uses the metaphor of the moon to reflect the dark side of all human relations-this time, in a semi-autobiographical take on fraternal friction.’
    • ‘Younger brother Prince Khurram promptly had him killed, as fraternal ambitions were not to be encouraged, even though the wretched Prince Khusrau was blind.’
    • ‘Monogamy is the norm, although some Tibetan-speaking peoples practice fraternal polyandry (two brothers may marry the same woman).’
    • ‘Their quirky relationship oscillates between paternal and fraternal, part father-son, part Wright brothers.’
    • ‘Not romantic love, of course, but fraternal love.’
    • ‘But then Barkulkul deviates from fraternal expectations-he kills his brother, plants him like a long yam and covers his corpse with a bunch of bananas.’
    • ‘This fraternal tension stresses Philippe, especially now that their mother has died, because André is the only family he has left.’
    • ‘But it never seemed to matter too much, because the films were so undeniably zany and the fraternal team was so outrageously screwy that none of that other stuff mattered.’
    • ‘Looking down my list, it struck me that all of my chosen stories are about love in some of its myriad forms: romantic, fraternal, perverse, unrequited, frustrated, self-sacrificing and destructive.’
    • ‘Despite John's objections to psychological explanations, the mother functions as the sexualized prize and arbiter in this fraternal rivalry when the brothers come to blows on her doorstep.’
    • ‘The fraternal filmmaking team manages to make crass, stupid, lurid jokes, while also maintaining a heart and evoking old-fashioned schmaltz.’
    1. 1.1 Of or denoting an organization for people, especially men, that have common interests or beliefs.
      ‘a network of political clubs and fraternal organizations’
      • ‘This early form of communalism has been translated into today's world by the plethora of Polish American fraternal organizations.’
      • ‘These people were not allowed to join the fraternal organizations that had been previously established by and for white people, so they sought to form their own social organizations throughout the country.’
      • ‘If you don't have access to employer-provided health care, join a fraternal or professional organization to get access to insurance at group rates.’
      • ‘Examples of bonding social capital include ethnic fraternal organizations, church-based women's reading groups, and fashionable country clubs.’
      • ‘It may be wiser to form into fraternal organizations, professional societies, and institutes of study than to continue with formal certification models.’
      • ‘Risk tests will be distributed through a variety of community channels including social-service, faith-based, grass-roots and fraternal organizations and retail outlets.’
      • ‘It is a fraternal order whose basic principles are philanthropy, truth and brotherly love.’
      • ‘The convenience sample was recruited from fraternal organizations, health fairs, and churches in a Midwestern community.’
      • ‘Silence has long been a tenet of mystery religions such as Wicca, as well as other fraternal organizations such as the Masons, or the Golden Dawn.’
      • ‘There has to be a recommitted partnership among colleges and universities, graduate chapters and regional/national officials of Black fraternal organizations to address this problem.’
      • ‘While it is true that most fraternal organizations excluded blacks and women as full members, so too did the vast majority of political associations and labor unions during the same period.’
      • ‘This is evident both in their declining numbers, as well as in the decreasing number of their ethnic institutions, churches, cultural organizations, and fraternal organizations.’
      • ‘Around the same time, many lay Roman Catholic organizations were also founded; fraternal and social organizations were formed for men, women, workers, students, and other lay groups.’
      • ‘They have organized themselves, however, through mutual aid societies as well as civic, educational, social, and fraternal organizations.’
      • ‘The project team recruited potential study participants by working with churches, community and fraternal organizations, funeral homes, African American businesses, and universities.’
      • ‘Oriental dress and regalia were adopted by fraternal organizations such as the Shriners, who wore fezzes and named their newly built Eastern style buildings after cities in Syrin, Iraq, and Egypt.’
      • ‘Later, Romanian immigrants gathered at the headquarters of mutual aid societies and fraternal organizations where they discussed news from Romania, read or wrote letters, and sang religious or popular songs.’
      • ‘Shortly before the Civil War, the fraternity regrouped and became the model for dozens of other fraternal organizations that enjoyed tremendous popularity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.’
      • ‘The armies and athletic teams and fraternal orders of the world have uniforms, flags, toasts, songs, music handed down from one generation to the next, all as reminders that others have gone this way before and succeeded.’
      • ‘It pointed to evidence of declining participation in a variety of civic arenas - politics, churches, labor unions, parent-teacher organizations and fraternal organizations.’
  • 2(of twins) developed from separate ova and therefore genetically distinct and not necessarily of the same sex or more similar than other siblings.

    Compare with identical (sense 1)
    • ‘Fingerprints were in fact used to see whether twins were fraternal or identical.’
    • ‘But some research suggests that parents, teachers, peers and others may treat identical twins more similarly than fraternal twins.’
    • ‘Identical twins have the same genotype, while fraternal twins share on average only 50% of the same genes.’
    • ‘Ordinary siblings and fraternal twins have only 50 percent of their genes in common.’
    • ‘The disease occurs in 30% of identical twins but in only 5% of fraternal twins.’
    • ‘There are generally two different types of twins recognized, fraternal and identical.’
    • ‘The remaining two-thirds of twins are fraternal, resulting from two different eggs fertilized by two different sperm.’
    • ‘A study of identical and fraternal twins separated at birth and adopted into different families showed the same heritability.’
    • ‘Fifteen miles away, its fraternal twin, Ball's Pyramid, towers to a height of 1,811 feet, so sheer it seems two dimensional to the people in boats which pass in its shadow.’
    • ‘Heritability is usually measured by concordance between parents and children, or between identical and fraternal twins.’
    • ‘The fraternal twins had just turned two a week ago.’
    • ‘One particularly good test system with which to quantify disease heritability is a twin study, in which disease frequency is compared between cohorts of identical twins and fraternal twins.’
    • ‘The study found that the identical twins were more similar in personality traits than the fraternal twins.’
    • ‘Comparisons of identical and fraternal twins show that there is a strong genetic component to how people respond to lousy childhood environments.’
    • ‘Some even thought of us as fraternal twins because I used to dress just like him and follow him around everywhere he went.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin fraternalis, from Latin fraternus, from frater ‘brother’.