Definition of sister in English:



  • 1A woman or girl in relation to other daughters and sons of her parents.

    ‘I had nine brothers and sisters’
    • ‘The bridesmaid was sister of the bride Amanda, and the best man was David Duffy.’
    • ‘I witnessed the complete joy and ecstasy on family members faces as their son's or daughters, brothers or sisters strode out proudly with the best in the world and took part in sport.’
    • ‘Elianne's parents, two sisters and brother will be going to see her tread the boards and there is plenty of time for you to see the play as it is on until March 15.’
    • ‘I hope they go away and tell their parents, brothers and sisters about this, so that they come as well.’
    • ‘Also, I know you want to see your dear little sister before she dies.’
    • ‘He enjoys every moment at home with his parents, brothers and sisters and he also spent some time at his favourite pastime, fishing.’
    • ‘My parents were denied the opportunity to visit their sisters living in the West.’
    • ‘She grew roses at her family home and they were a constant reminder of her happy years growing up with her brothers and sisters and her parents.’
    • ‘There was one room for my nine brothers and sisters and my parents.’
    • ‘He and his younger twin sister had sneaked out of the palace many times, disguised as peasants.’
    • ‘Sadly, it is our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, who must pay the price when a deal goes bad.’
    • ‘Hours before they were removed one of the children had pleaded: ‘Don't take me and my brothers and sisters away from our parents.’’
    • ‘Looking down, I was delighted to see my four-year old baby sister, Zoe.’
    • ‘The girl that plays my daughter in the series is actually my niece, my sister's little girl.’
    • ‘Three educational institutions have adopted two brothers and a sister who lost their parents in a tragic fire accident.’
    • ‘The brothers and four sisters lived with their parents in Car Bank Square.’
    • ‘I get to be maid of honor for my old best friend's sister's wedding.’
    • ‘The operation was a success and Claudia was discharged in time to spend Christmas at home with her parents and three older sisters.’
    • ‘An extremely quiet and gentle girl she went to Dublin with her sister after their parents passed away.’
    female sibling
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  • 2A female friend or associate, especially a female fellow member of a trade union or other organization.

    ‘textile unions are showing solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the developing world’
    • ‘However, it makes me sad to see our fellow brothers and sisters abort Xhosa and adopt other languages when they get into the limelight.’
    • ‘I would like to remind my fellow brothers and sisters that their primary objective should be service delivery and the eradication of poverty.’
    • ‘But today Hindus have all the resources they need to support our fellow brothers and sisters.’
    • ‘Some people around me - family, friends, associates, brothers and sisters in Christ - have died, and I can see that others are heading that way.’
    • ‘This is why we are turning to our colleagues, friends, and sisters for assistance.’
    • ‘I now know that my fellow brothers and sisters, the lawyers of New Zealand, will be in a position to practise in front of the highest court of our country.’
    comrade, friend, partner, associate, colleague
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    1. 2.1 A fellow woman seen in relation to feminist issues.
      ‘uncloseted lesbian sisters’
      • ‘You have to ask what the limits are of a feminist politics that places all women as sisters.’
      • ‘I don't think, with apologies to my feminist sisters, that Martha got different treatment because she's a woman.’
      • ‘Feminists encourage women to be sisters, but will they also become mates?’
      • ‘Like most of my feminist sisters in Paris, I scorned monogamy.’
      • ‘Eighteenth and nineteenth-century feminists are ‘our sisters, our contemporaries’.’
      • ‘One of the differences between me and my sisters in the women's movement is that I do not regard my husband's money as my own.’
      • ‘However, what is called ‘Gender Archaeology’ is actually feminist archaeology - sisters are doing it for themselves.’
    2. 2.2North American informal A black woman (chiefly used as a term of address by other black people)
      ‘‘Come on, sister, why not come clean and tell us?’’
      • ‘Catering was one of the most successful early business ventures for Blacks, and sisters were the first ones to try their hands at it.’
      • ‘I know many black sisters who have been unemployed for quite some time.’
      • ‘Even within my own corporation, a workplace Mecca for Black women, sisters have had drama.’
      • ‘While Black women and their sisters of color have been the main targets of these racist-inspired attacks, white women have suffered as well.’
      • ‘All my sisters who want a Black revolution don't care’
      • ‘Look, I wanted to write a book about smart, sassy, sexy sisters with issues like everybody else has.’
  • 3A member of a religious order of women.

    ‘the sisters announced that there would be a special rosary every morning’
    as name ‘Sister Elizabeth, the headmistress of the Convent High School’
    • ‘They compelled the sisters to leave their convent and forbade the townspeople to lease us property.’
    • ‘Family members and Ursuline sisters sought to comfort her; she did not recognize them.’
    • ‘At a gathering of nuns in Washington in 1979, he ordered the sisters to dress in proper religious garb and to remember their true vocation as acquiescent helpers.’
    • ‘He was especially well known among the religious sisters, the nuns of that time.’
    • ‘An order of Zambian religious sisters now manages both the hospital and the training centre.’
    • ‘Because she was a religious sister and a citizen of the United States her case, of course, got great publicity.’
    • ‘She will be most sadly missed by her religious sisters.’
    • ‘Crucial to the prosecution was the willingness of other Benedictine sisters to testify against them.’
    • ‘Of course, in the Roman Catholic Church marriage is forbidden for the clergy and the religious sisters.’
    • ‘Gould dwells mainly on occidental missionaries, sisters from the church, and other motivated people of Christian faith who served the cause of leprosy patients.’
    • ‘The church sisters wrapped him in a quilt made out of patches of John's clothing.’
    • ‘I once stayed at a convent where the sisters placed a photo album in each room with pictures of the things they wanted people to donate.’
    • ‘Her hope was that after treatment she would be able to return to her religious sisters and to her work, where she had spent 36 happy years.’
    • ‘Jeanne acted exactly as a religious sister in the mid-nineteenth century was expected to act.’
    • ‘One of the greatest strengths of the Catholic Church is the quality and dedication of its religious sisters.’
    • ‘The move would also have the result, so far scarcely noted, of undermining the teaching orders of priests and religious sisters.’
    • ‘It will mark the end of an era for the religious order of sisters, who 31 years ago set up the centre in the parlour of their convent.’
    nun, novice, abbess, prioress, mother superior, reverend mother
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  • 4British A senior female nurse, typically in charge of a ward.

    ‘the ward sister needs to be consulted’
    as name ‘Sister nodded, glancing at the reports’
    • ‘Yesterday an old man collapsed in the toilet, and Amelia ran out to fetch the ward sister.’
    • ‘The ward sister with 30 years' experience is still in such a state of shock that she needs to take powerful tranquillisers.’
    • ‘Each ward will have three senior sisters, sisters, staff nurses and healthcare assistants in the team on hand to help and advise patients.’
    • ‘The ward sister ate happily from the trolley in front of me, knowing that I had had no food.’
    • ‘On October 29 last year, supervisors and ward sisters complained that none of the staff members had been consulted about the plan to move the ward.’
    • ‘On a busy night like this, the sister in charge keeps pressurising you to finish your paperwork, help a woman wash, and transfer her to the ward.’
    • ‘The ward sister was in charge and no one would cross her!’
    • ‘The two ward sisters, nurses, cleaners and meals staff were hard-working, kind and cheerful - nothing was too much trouble for them.’
    • ‘Dr Bolton had not been at the interview when I was appointed, but the ward sister and the houseman assured me that he was a nice person.’
    • ‘Since leaving the hospital the care has continued at home with some wonderful treatment by the district nurses and sisters.’
    • ‘She quit her job as a ward sister in 1991 to bring up her children but found she missed nursing.’
    • ‘At 17 she got a job as a health care assistant at Airedale Hospital, where advice from a ward sister encouraged her to start training as a nurse.’
    • ‘The doctors, sister and nurses and ambulance staff were wonderful to me.’
    • ‘At the final patient's bed the ward sister drew back the curtains to reveal a patient sitting at the edge of the bed with his head tilted forward and pinching the tip of his nose.’
    • ‘I had a boss who liked me but a ward sister who did not.’
    • ‘The Government has given more power to ward sisters and matrons to insist on higher cleaning standards.’
    • ‘The public consultation called for a ‘modern matron figure’ in hospitals, and ward sisters or charge nurses will be given authority to resolve clinical issues.’
    • ‘As we walked back down the ward, I asked the ward sister if the mother had been in touch.’
    • ‘We contacted a sister or charge nurse in each department.’
    • ‘With his wife, who had been his ward sister, he published a textbook on orthopaedic nursing.’
  • 5as modifier Denoting an organization or place that bears a relationship to another of common origin or allegiance or mutual association.

    ‘Securicor and its sister company Securicor Services’
    ‘a sister ship’
    • ‘The company, along with sister companies Vidal and Esk Valley have won numerous local and international wine awards.’
    • ‘The charity, which has sister organisations in America and Australia, has chosen the village to start its operation in this country.’
    • ‘The two sister associations met to discuss common concerns within the hotel industry.’
    • ‘Already the Zimbabwean and Mozambican sister organizations have been doing well and expanding.’
    • ‘These two are sister newspapers and share the same resources.’
    • ‘The show had a six-month run at the National Portrait Gallery from last autumn and sister versions are running in New York and San Francisco.’
    • ‘Mother and I travelled on the passenger vessel Olympic, a sister ship of the Titanic.’
    • ‘He had no explanation for what might have happened to the sister ship, which was fishing in the same area of sea on Tuesday night.’
    • ‘It is great to see our sister organization from across the Atlantic continue to grow and prosper.’
    • ‘It has sister organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.’
    • ‘The Express Artemis, sister ship to the Samina, ran aground on Friday carrying 1,026 passengers.’
    • ‘We were instructed to head south to clear the area and allow a sister ship to conduct an over-the-side torpedo shot.’
    • ‘Its sister ship turned also and followed its compatriot out of the safety of their long-time hiding place.’
    • ‘The princess is the chair of the sister organization in the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘Its sister organizations throughout Texas will try to bring the state total to 500,000.’
    • ‘The original Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary were sister ships of the Cunard Line and, like sisters, shared a great many experiences.’
    • ‘Star Clipper and her near-identical sister ship are fantastic square-rigged clippers.’
    • ‘One would have expected the two sister professions to make common cause.’
    • ‘She said there was a lot of interest in sister youth organisations in Europe.’
    • ‘This ship and her sister exhibit distinct split personalities, depending on the cruising region.’


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zuster and German Schwester, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin soror.