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An aunt and her niece in Tigray, Ethiopia.

An aunt is a person who is the sister of a parent. Aunts are second-degree relatives and share 25% genetic overlap when they are the full sister of one of the biological parents. Known alternate terms include Auntie or Aunty. A half-aunt is a half-sister of a parent and is a third-degree relative with 12.5% genetic overlap. An aunt-in-law is a wife of one's uncle, direct genetic overlap will typically be 0%, as this person entered the family through marriage and typically is not a blood relative. A aunt-in-law can also be a aunt of one's spouse. A co-aunt-in-law is a wife of one's uncle of one's spouse.

The masculine counterpart of an aunt is an uncle, and the reciprocal relationship is that of a nephew or niece.

A great-aunt[1][2]/grandaunt[3] (sometimes written grand-aunt[4]) is the sister of one's grandparent. A half-great-aunt/half-grandaunt is the half-sister of one's grandparent. A great-aunt-in-law/grandaunt-in-law is the wife of one's great-uncle/granduncle. A great-aunt-in-law/grandaunt-in-law can also be is the great-aunt/grandaunt of one's spouse. A co-great-aunt-in-law/co-grandaunt-in-law is a wife of one's great-uncle/granduncle of one's spouse.

A great-great-aunt/great-grandaunt is the sister of one's great-grandparent. A half-great-great-aunt/half-great-grandaunt is the half-sister of one's great-grandparent. A great-great-aunt-in-law/great-grandaunt-in-law is the wife of one's great-great-uncle/great-granduncle. A great-great-aunt-in-law/great-grandaunt-in-law can also be is the great-great-aunt/great-grandaunt of one's spouse. A co-great-great-aunt-in-law/co-great-grandaunt-in-law is a wife of one's great-great-uncle/great-granduncle of one's spouse.

A cousin-aunt is the female cousin of one's parent, in other words, cousin-aunt is the niece of one's grandparent.

Alternate uses

A female cousin of one's parent is sometimes addressed as "aunt" instead of "cousin" due to the age difference.

Aunts in popular culture


Due to the positive image of an old but wise and friendly aunt in many cultures, the word has been used often as an affectionate nickname. Children's TV hosts using "aunt" as their nickname include Hannie Lips ("Tante Hannie"), Lily Petersen ("Tante Lily") and Terry Van Ginderen ("Tante Terry"). New Zealand radio presenter Aunt Daisy is another example.

Writers using it include Laura Valentine ("Aunt Louisa"), Harriette Newell Woods Baker ("Aunt Hattie"), Elma Dalhuijsen-Nuis ("Tante Kaat") and Henriette Roland Holst ("Tante Jet").

Musicians using it include Dutch singer Helena Polder (Tante Leen), American folk singer Aunt Molly Jackson, country singer Aunt Sap, Hawaiian musician Aunty Genoa Keawe, Auntie Alice Namakelua and Auntie Nona, the rock bands Auntie Christ and Aunt Mary, the disco band Aunty Disco Project and the jazz band Aunt Ruby's Sweet Jazz Babies.

Pornographic actress Juliet Anderson named herself Aunt Peg, while YouTube personality Felicia A. O'Dell named herself Auntie Fee.

Due to its inviting image several buildings have also used the word "aunt" in their name, such as the Italian safe house Aunt Anna's and the Dutch restaurant Tante Koosje. Companies like the BBC (Auntie Beeb), Auntie Anne's, Aunt Bessie's, Aunt Carrie's, Aunty Green Hotel, Aunt Jemima, Aunt Judy's Magazine, Aunt Nellie's Red Cabbage, Spry Vegetable Shortening (Aunt Jenny), Aunt Lute Books and Club Penguin (Aunt Arctic) use it for the same reasons. An Aunt Sally is a dummy of an old woman's head, which players throw sticks or battens to.

Wise or otherwise eccentric aunts are common in works of fiction.

Fictional aunts in comics

Fictional aunts in films

Fictional aunts in folklore

  • Tante Arie/Airie, French folklore and holiday character in Franche-Comté.

Fictional aunts in literature

Fictional aunts in music

Fictional aunts in radio series

Fictional aunts in TV series

See also


  1. ^ "Definition of great-aunt in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Google Ngram Viewer of relative versions of name". Google Ngram. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Grandaunt definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Definition of grand-aunt in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Tante Leny Presenteert". Retrieved 16 April 2017.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of aunt at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of grandaunt at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of great-aunt at Wiktionary
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