My goal to learn something new every day
Yesterday’s post was all about cousins. Second cousins, third cousins, fourth cousins, removed cousins, you name it. If you want to know how to describe your cousins, head over to yesterday’s post to find out. But then, this morning, I received this tweet from @TesalKoksi.
I’d never heard of second aunt/uncle before, but I’ve learned long ago not to rule something out just because I haven’t heard of it. The idea makes sense if you think about it; Your uncle/aunt is usually someone who is a generation older than you. So, I did some more Googling, and found out that we can indeed say it.
The first result on Google leads to Collins Dictionary, which says this about second uncle:
A first cousin once removed, who is male in the generation older than you. (see also, second aunt, second niece, and second nephew, who are also first cousins once removed).
Searching Wiktionary, it’s also there, but under the title cousin-uncle. Wiktionary says this:
Male first cousin of one’s parent; one’s male first cousin once removed in a higher generation.
Walter is my dad’s first cousin. That makes Walter my cousin-uncle. Jack is my mother’s first cousin, so for me he is another cousin-uncle.
So, your second-uncle aka your cousin-uncle is your first cousin once removed who is a generation older than you (not a generation younger than you, which would also be your first cousin once removed (see below)). This excerpt from yesterday’s relationship chart shows the relative to which I’m referring when we say second uncle. Like yesterday, this is assuming that you are the person in the blue bar at the top and your relative is the person in the red bar on the left. And again, the relationship is like saying you (blue bar) are [relationship] to relative (red bar) or you are second uncle to Bob.
Moving down the same column, to first cousin twice removed, you would be second granduncle and so on. And then if you move another generation away from your common ancestor, to second cousin once removed you become third uncle and so on. This, of course, is assuming you are male. If you’re female then simply substitute aunt for uncle.
If you are second uncle to Bob, that means Bob is second nephew to you. The same rules apply for adding the ordinal numbers and greats to nieces and nephews as they do for aunts and uncles.
As I was learning more about cousins today, I came across two more terms that I’d not heard of before: Parallel cousins and cross cousins. These terms relate to the gender of your parent and their sibling.
If your parent and their sibling are the same gender, e.g. your father and your father’s brother, then you and your cousin (father’s brother’s son/daughter) are parallel cousins. The same applies when talking about your mother and your mother’s sister’s son/daughter.
So my mum, Caroline, has a sister, Jill, who has a daughter, Jo. Jo and I are parallel cousins.
If your parent and their sibling are different genders, e.g. your father and your father’s sister or your mother and your mother’s brother, then their children are your cross cousins. My father, Kieron, has a sister, Shauna, who has a son, Joseph. Joseph and I are cross cousins.
So there, you have it. If you thought yesterday’s post was confusing enough, today’s post just muddies the already very unclear terminology surrounding cousins.
Featured image courtesy of sumetho on FreeDigitalPhotos.net.