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An aunt is a woman who is a sibling of a parent or married to a sibling of a parent. Aunts who are related by birth are second-degree relatives. Alternate terms include auntie or aunty. Children in other cultures and families may refer to the cousins of their parents as aunt or uncle due to the age and generation gap. The word comes from Latin: amita via Old French ante and is a family relationship within an extended or immediate family.
- A half-aunt is a half-sister of a parent.
- An aunt-in-law is the aunt of one's spouse.
- A great-aunt/grandaunt (sometimes written grand-aunt) is the sister of one's grandparent. Despite the popular usage of great-aunt, some genealogists consider it more correct to use grandaunt for a grandparent's sister to avoid confusion with earlier generations. Similarly, the female siblings of one's great-grandparents are referred to as great-grandaunts.[better source needed]
Genetics and consanguinity
Aunts by birth (sister of a parent) are related to their nieces and nephews by 25%. As half-aunts are related through half-sisters, they are related by 12.5% to their nieces and nephews. Non-consanguineous aunts (female spouse of a relative) are not genetically related to their nieces and nephews.
In some cultures, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia, respected senior members of the community, often also referred to as Elders, are addressed as "uncle" (for men) and "aunt" for women, as a mark of seniority and respect, whether related or not, such as Aunty Kathy Mills.
In several cultures, no single inclusive term describing both a person's kinship to their parental female sibling or parental female in-law exists. Instead, there are specific terms describing a person's kinship to their mother's female sibling, and a person's kinship to their father's female sibling, per the following table:
|Language||Mother's sister||Father's sister|
|Kurdish||Xaltîk (IPA: xɑːltiːk)||Metik (IPA: mɛtɪk)|
|Arabic||خالة (khālah)||عمّة (ʿammah)|
|Bengali||খালা (khala)||ফুফু (phuphu)|
|Korean||이모 (Imo)||고모 (Gomo)|
|Polish||ciotka (diminutive: ciocia)||stryjna (diminutive: stryjenka)|
Aunts in popular culture
Aunts in popular culture have not always been portrayed as positive roles. Childless aunts are often subjected to othering in popular culture and presented as exotic or as having a second-best role, with motherhood preferred.
Fictional aunts include:
- May Parker, the aunt of Spider-Man.
- Eunice, the abusive aunt of Joker.
- Auntie Mame, title character in the novel and film.
- Petunia Dursley, the aunt of the protagonist of Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling.
- Vivian Banks, the aunt of the main character in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
- Aunt Sally, a character in the Worzel Gummidge books and TV series.
- Aunt Em, the aunt of Dorothy Gale in the Oz books and film.
- Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge, the villainous aunts of James Trotter in James and the Giant Peach.
- Diane, the tomboyish aunt of Daniel in Chicago Party Aunt.
- Karasu and Washi, the twin aunts of Kubo from Kubo And The 2 Strings.
An agony aunt is a colloquial term for a female advice columnist.
- All pages with titles beginning with Aunt – includes many articles with titles "Aunt [name]."
- Auntie (disambiguation) (also includes "Aunty")
- "Definition of great-aunt in English by Oxford Dictionaries". oxforddictionaries.com. Archived from the original on April 24, 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "Google Ngram Viewer of relative versions of name". Google Ngram. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "Grandaunt definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "Definition of grand-aunt in English by Oxford Dictionaries". oxforddictionaries.com. Archived from the original on April 24, 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "Relationship Chart by Betty Eichhorn" (PDF). devonfhs.org.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 March 2022. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
- "Communicating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Audiences". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia). 23 February 2016.
- Browning, Daniel (14 September 2022). "'I called him Uncle': Remembering iconic theatre great Uncle Jack Charles". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
- Mills, Aunty Kathy. "You belong to my heart". Spun: True Stories Told in the Territory. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
- Jones, Anna. "'Aunt with no kids': The women redefining family roles". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 2021-12-13.