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Syllabification: un·cle
Pronunciation: /ˈəNGk(ə)l

Definition of uncle in English:


1The brother of one’s father or mother or the husband of one’s aunt.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • She is mourned and sadly missed by her loving husband, children, mother, uncles, aunts, cousins, and all her relatives and friends.
  • There are fathers, brothers and uncles and husbands and wives working for the company.
1.1 informal An unrelated older male friend, especially of a child.
Example sentences
  • My dad's best man was his closest friend, Rocky, who was basically an uncle to me.
  • 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.
1.2 archaic informal A pawnbroker.
Example sentences
  • The English term of ‘my uncle’ as a euphemism for the pawnbroker dates back to the middle of the seventeenth century.


Middle English: from Old French oncle, from late Latin aunculus, alteration of Latin avunculus 'maternal uncle' (see avuncular).


cry (or say) uncle

North American informal Surrender or admit defeat.
Example sentences
  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all the bad guys are either dead or cry uncle.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Definition of uncle in:

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