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[bruhth -er-in-law] /ˈbrʌð ər ɪnˌlɔ/
noun, plural brothers-in-law.
the brother of one's husband or wife.
the husband of one's sister.
the husband of one's wife's or husband's sister.
Origin of brother-in-law
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for brother-in-law
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I suppose he'll be a little more fastidious, as the brother-in-law of Shepler.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • He cut off my brother-in-law's leg—charged him as much as if he had grown a new one for him.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Mrs. MacDermott almost shouted the words at her brother-in-law.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • And, moreover, his wife was in charge of his brother-in-law.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • He looked dubiously at his brother-in-law, but he did not ask him for information.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for brother-in-law


noun (pl) brothers-in-law
the brother of one's wife or husband
the husband of one's sister
the husband of the sister of one's husband or wife
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for brother-in-law

c.1300; also brother in law; see brother. In Arabic, Urdu, Swahili, etc., brother-in-law, when addressed to a male who is not a brother-in-law, is an extreme insult, with implications of "I slept with your sister."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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