Definition of sister in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈsɪstə/


1A woman or girl in relation to other daughters and sons of her parents: I had nine brothers and sisters
More example sentences
  • There was one room for my nine brothers and sisters and my parents.
  • An extremely quiet and gentle girl she went to Dublin with her sister after their parents passed away.
  • I witnessed the complete joy and ecstasy on family members faces as their son's or daughters, brothers or sisters strode out proudly with the best in the world and took part in sport.
female sibling
informal sis
British rhyming slang skin and blister
2A female friend or associate, especially a female fellow member of a trade union or other organization: textile unions are showing solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the developing world
More example sentences
  • Some people around me - family, friends, associates, brothers and sisters in Christ - have died, and I can see that others are heading that way.
  • This is why we are turning to our colleagues, friends, and sisters for assistance.
  • I would like to remind my fellow brothers and sisters that their primary objective should be service delivery and the eradication of poverty.
comrade, friend, partner, associate, colleague
2.1A fellow woman seen in relation to feminist issues: uncloseted lesbian sisters
More example sentences
  • I don't think, with apologies to my feminist sisters, that Martha got different treatment because she's a woman.
  • Eighteenth and nineteenth-century feminists are ‘our sisters, our contemporaries’.
  • However, what is called ‘Gender Archaeology’ is actually feminist archaeology - sisters are doing it for themselves.
2.2 informal, chiefly North American A fellow black woman: ‘Come on, sister, why not come clean and tell us?’
More example sentences
  • Look, I wanted to write a book about smart, sassy, sexy sisters with issues like everybody else has.
  • Catering was one of the most successful early business ventures for Blacks, and sisters were the first ones to try their hands at it.
  • All my sisters who want a Black revolution don't care
3 (often Sister) A member of a religious order of women: the sisters announced that there would be a special rosary every morning [as name]: Sister Elizabeth, the headmistress of the Convent High School
More example sentences
  • The move would also have the result, so far scarcely noted, of undermining the teaching orders of priests and religious sisters.
  • It will mark the end of an era for the religious order of sisters, who 31 years ago set up the centre in the parlour of their convent.
  • An order of Zambian religious sisters now manages both the hospital and the training centre.
nun, novice, abbess, prioress, Mother Superior, Reverend Mother;
bride of Christ, religious, conventual, contemplative;
Roman Catholic Church  canoness
literary vestal
historical anchoress, ancress
rare vowess
4 (often Sister) British A senior female nurse, typically in charge of a ward: the ward sister needs to be consulted [as name]: Sister nodded, glancing at the reports
More example sentences
  • The public consultation called for a ‘modern matron figure’ in hospitals, and ward sisters or charge nurses will be given authority to resolve clinical issues.
  • Each ward will have three senior sisters, sisters, staff nurses and healthcare assistants in the team on hand to help and advise patients.
  • We contacted a sister or charge nurse in each department.
5 [as modifier] Denoting an organization or place which bears a relationship to another of common origin or allegiance or mutual association: Securicor and its sister company Securicor Services a sister ship
More example sentences
  • Already the Zimbabwean and Mozambican sister organizations have been doing well and expanding.
  • Its sister organizations throughout Texas will try to bring the state total to 500,000.
  • The princess is the chair of the sister organization in the United Kingdom.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zuster and German Schwester, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin soror.

Words that rhyme with sister

assister, ballista, bistre (US bister), blister, enlister, glister, lister, mister, resistor, Sandinista, transistor, tryster, twister, vista

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sis¦ter

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.