One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The brother of one's father or mother or the husband of one's aunt.
relative, relation, blood relation, blood relative, family member, one's own flesh and blood, next of kinView synonyms
- ‘They've invited me to their house parties where I met their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, and sisters.’
- ‘The people who died were mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers and friends.’
- ‘We're talking about our own family members - aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers grandparents, parents and children.’
- ‘She is mourned and sadly missed by her loving husband, children, mother, uncles, aunts, cousins, and all her relatives and friends.’
- ‘She is survived by her father, mother, brother, grand-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.’
- ‘He is deeply regretted by his mother Catherine, brothers, sisters; aunts, uncles; in-laws, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.’
- ‘Can't her cousins and aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers and mother and father and friends have some time with her?’
- ‘Along with the children of the dead, there were the mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, husbands and wives; except that in one case, there was neither husband nor wife.’
- ‘Numerous people wept for their friends, husbands, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings and in some distressing cases, young sons and daughters.’
- ‘We are either fathers or mothers, aunts or uncles, grandfathers or grandmothers, the last category tending to have an exalted position in the hierarchy of affection for young children.’
- ‘He will also be missed by numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.’
- ‘These relatives suffered the stress of living with the fact that they would not provide a bit of care, comfort and attention to their fathers or mothers, sisters or brothers, aunts or uncles.’
- ‘Deepest sympathy is extended to his sons Micheal and Richard, mother Mary, brothers, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and a wide circle of friends.’
- ‘She had the body of someone who worked for it, and as Lyn had seen all of her fat aunts, uncles, cousins, mother, father, and grandparents she knew what Noel was worried about.’
- ‘He is mourned by parents Aidan and Chris, proprietors, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and a host of friends.’
- ‘There are fathers, brothers and uncles and husbands and wives working for the company.’
- ‘I wish more grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters would set their stories down on tape for family, friends and future generations.’
- ‘These are our grandmothers and aunts and uncles and fathers and sisters and cousins and close friends.’
- ‘She is survived by her husband Patrick, son Sean, daughter Katie, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, relatives and friends.’
- ‘I have a loving mother, father, grandparents, uncles, aunts, family in general.’
- 1.1informal An unrelated older male friend, especially of a child.
- ‘We became uncles to the little boy and warm friends with the parents.’
- ‘He is more like your friendly neighbourhood uncle with a passion for sports.’
- ‘My dad's best man was his closest friend, Rocky, who was basically an uncle to me.’
- ‘The only real explanation I can provide is that he looks like your gentle, friendly uncle.’
- 1.2informal, archaic A pawnbroker.
- ‘The English term of ‘my uncle’ as a euphemism for the pawnbroker dates back to the middle of the seventeenth century.’
cry (or say or yell) uncle
informal Surrender or admit defeat.
- ‘We want to hose someone with verbiage until they yell uncle.’
- ‘Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all the bad guys are either dead or cry uncle.’
- ‘You might think the banks would be crying uncle by now.’
- ‘Not all of them, I regret to report, are crying uncle.’
- ‘The tech lobby isn't likely to cry uncle any faster.’
- ‘I'm pretty strong for my size so I was going to hold it like that until he said uncle.’
- ‘The stubborn one-time peanut vendor may have to cry uncle again.’
- ‘Plenty of people thought we should have just let the Confederate states go their own way in 1861 - but even they knew that if we beat General Lee on the field and occupied enough of the South, that the CSA would cry uncle and quit.’
- ‘We gave our rep a quick call to complain, but it became apparent the only way to go home was to cry uncle on the radio.’
- ‘I will hound that poor excuse of a human being until he yells uncle or stops posting vapid, unproven horse nonsense that all of you seem to believe.’
Middle English: from Old French oncle, from late Latin aunculus, alteration of Latin avunculus ‘maternal uncle’ (see avuncular).
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