Definition of avunculate in English:



  • The special relationship in some societies between a man and his sister's son.

    • ‘Commentary from 1861 to the present is examined in order to establish that the avunculate does indeed reflect matrilineal kinship structure, which in turn suggests that a full-scale totemic kinship system prevailed in prehistoric Germania.’
    • ‘Since every schoolboy since Radcliffe-Brown knows the importance of the avunculate in African society, I simply counted my blessings, figuring that I must actually be ‘doing’ anthropology.’
    • ‘However, some questions were still unanswered, since the avunculate is not associated always with either matrilineal or patrilineal systems.’
    • ‘The Fante also cited the latter proverb to indicate certain limitations placed on the avunculate.’
    • ‘He is currently refining one paper on Anglo-Saxon queenship and another on the avunculate in Beowulf, the latter invited for Philological Quarterly.’


Early 20th century: from Latin avunculus maternal uncle + -ate.