Definition of cousin in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkəz(ə)n/


(also first cousin)
1A child of one’s uncle or aunt.
Example sentences
  • Not just the immediate family, but including all my aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews.
  • There is a great loyalty to one's immediate family and even beyond - to uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews.
  • At any given time, there are about ten kids outside, plus various aunts, uncles, cousins and other assorted relatives.
1.1A person belonging to the same extended family.
Example sentences
  • This man is surely a distant cousin; probably a descendant of Cap'n Skewes!
  • An extended family tree will grow to include many distant cousins.
  • He and Joe were distant cousins on his mother's side.
1.2A thing related or analogous to another: the new motorbikes are not proving as popular as their four-wheeled cousins
More example sentences
  • After all that effort, to have the Pentecostals create a powerful Religious Right in South America analogous to its cousins in the North?
  • The result of all these developments is that, finally, the digital scope could make its analogue cousin obsolete.
  • There is no doubt that choline and its cousins are related to memory.
1.3 (usually cousins) A person of a kindred culture, race, or nation: the Russians and their Slavic cousins
More example sentences
  • In the spring, these British birds can beat their Spanish cousins back to Germany, getting dibs on the best nesting sites.
  • Of course, once permanently established, the Australian settlers lived and worked as their forebears in England and their cousins in North America.
  • Despite having to get used to American spellings she quickly took to the game, and continued to play on board an ocean liner as she crossed the Pacific to visit more cousins in Australia.
1.4 historical A title formerly used by a sovereign in addressing another sovereign or a noble of their own country.



first cousin once removed

1A child of one’s first cousin.
2One’s parent’s first cousin.
Example sentences
  • I also spoke at length to my first cousin once removed, who credited me with the success of her current relationship.
  • She was left ‘deeply saddened’ at the sudden death of her first cousin once removed.

first cousin twice removed

1A grandchild of one’s first cousin.
Example sentences
  • Mary's children and John's great-grandchildren will be first cousins twice removed, and so on.
  • They are first cousins twice removed to Marge.
  • A number of people ask me that question after reading my page about cousins, which explains first cousins twice removed and second cousins once removed.
2One’s grandparent’s first cousin.

second cousin

A child of one’s parent’s first cousin.
Example sentences
  • Three huge studies in the U.S. between 1941 and 1981 found that no more than 0.2% of all American marriages were between first cousins or second cousins.
  • We are still talking to cousins, second cousins and family friends through interpreters.
  • That involves their cousins, their first cousins once removed, their second cousins.

second cousin once removed

1A child of one’s second cousin.
Example sentences
  • He was my second cousin once removed.
  • Hume was Burns' second cousin once removed, and he dabbled in poetry himself.
  • Only the march of time and events allowed her to consolidate her position and keep England together until an obvious Protestant heir had emerged, in the person of second cousin once removed, James VI of Scotland.
2One’s parent’s second cousin.
Example sentences
  • Daisy was Nick's second cousin once removed, and Tom was Daisy's husband and classmate of Nick's from school.
  • He has a seemingly inexhaustible number of nephews, nieces, and second cousins once removed.
  • Don't make a big deal out of this or you're going to find yourself going with your second cousin once removed.

third cousin

A child of one’s parent’s second cousin.
Example sentences
  • Actually they comprised four families of second and third cousins.
  • I think she was some sort of cousin, a second or third cousin, maybe.
  • Often second or third cousins become ‘brothers’ or ‘sisters.’



Pronunciation: /ˈkəz(ə)nˌho͝od/
Example sentences
  • In many respects, in fact, the Enlightenment starts here: with the first members of the cousinhood of architects, scientists, and lawyers, and the principles which underlay their work.
  • Here the cousinhood played an important role, though its continuing influence was more obvious to the public in its manifestation on the board of directors.
  • In reality two particular kinds of privileged kinship emerge from the definition of the cousinhood in Fulani Society.


Example sentences
  • Anna is around ten years older than me and a better friend, advocate and all-round cousinly kind of figure I really couldn't wish for.
  • I look at the baby he's saying is me, an infantile dot in a sea of cousinly humanity, on a farm I can't remember.
  • You don't have to act all protective cousinly on me.


Pronunciation: /ˈkəz(ə)nˌSHip/
Example sentences
  • He knows better than to claim cousinship with his patron and mentor.
  • Even so, I was disappointed when Jerilyn and Katy, because of their acquaintanceship (which I'd later learn was a cousinship), instantly chose one another.
  • I personally find the idea of cousinship to all living species positively agreeable, but neither my warmth toward it, nor the cringing of a creationist, has the slightest bearing on its truth.


Middle English: from Old French cosin, from Latin consobrinus 'mother's sister's child', from con- 'with' + sobrinus 'second cousin' (from soror 'sister').

  • Our word cousin is from Old French cosin, which in turn comes from Latin consobrinus ‘mother's sister's child’. By the time the word had entered English it could be used for the child of an aunt or uncle. It came to be used of any relative more distant than your brother or sister, and particularly in the past to a nephew or niece: ‘How now brother, where is my cosen, your son?’ (Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing).

Words that rhyme with cousin

cozen, dozen

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cous·in

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