siblings and niblings

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A few years ago, I realized that French has no real word for siblings. If you want to know whether a person has any, you ask if they have brothers and sisters. I find it clunky and annoying. At some point in the recent past, I discovered that une fratrie refers to a group of siblings, but it’s not a term in everyday usage, and I think people would look at me weirdly if I asked whether they have une fratrie.

I similarly find it clunky and annoying that neither French nor English has a real word for nieces and nephews… or so I thought. This article about 25 obscure English words introduced me to nibling, a neologism coined in 1951 to refer to either a niece or a nephew; niblings is the plural. Unfortunately it never caught on, which is a shame. I think it’s both brilliant AND remarkably cute, just like a word for beloved little people should be.

That is all.

[Photo: Ritmó]