Definition of uncle in English:


Syllabification: un·cle
Pronunciation: /ˈəNGkəl


  • 1The brother of one’s father or mother or the husband of one’s aunt.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More example sentences
    • The English term of ‘my uncle’ as a euphemism for the pawnbroker dates back to the middle of the seventeenth century.


cry (or say) uncle

North American informal Surrender or admit defeat.
More 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.


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

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