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90s Slang You Should Know


[kuhz-uh n] /ˈkʌz ən/
Also called first cousin, full cousin. the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt.
See also second cousin, removed (def 2).
one related by descent in a diverging line from a known common ancestor, as from one's grandparent or from one's father's or mother's sister or brother.
a kinsman or kinswoman; relative.
a person or thing related to another by similar natures, languages, geographical proximity, etc.:
Our Canadian cousins are a friendly people.
Slang. a gullible, innocent person who is easily duped or taken advantage of.
a term of address used by a sovereign in speaking, writing, or referring to another sovereign or a high-ranking noble.
Origin of cousin
1250-1300; Middle English cosin < Anglo-French co(u)sin, Old French cosin < Latin consōbrīnus cousin (properly, son of one's mother's sister), equivalent to con- con- + sōbrīnus second cousin (presumably orig. “pertaining to the sister”) < *swesrīnos, equivalent to *swesr-, gradational variant of *swesōr (> soror sister) + *-īnos -ine1; for -sr- > -br- cf. December
Related forms
cousinage, cousinhood, cousinship, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cousinship
Historical Examples
  • The Duc de Noailles is wearing mourning and receiving letters at Neuilly on grounds of cousinship.

  • No two thoughts were related to each other even by the fortieth cousinship.

    The World I Live In Helen Keller
  • She did not offer explanations, but in her own mind she peremptorily refused to deny or relinquish that cousinship.

  • Of course you are aware there is a sort of cousinship between us.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
  • Had it been sixpence, the cousinship would have required elaborate proof, before the treaty could have made further progress.

    David Elginbrod George MacDonald
  • What is relative is not unreal; it is simply shared, like cousinship.

    The Will to Doubt Alfred H. Lloyd
  • He called her "Cousin Phillidy," and the cousinship, although very distant, enabled him to do the little woman many a good turn.

    Southern Hearts Florence Hull Winterburn
  • The first dance over, he came to claim me in right of “cousinship,” he said.

    Jasper Lyle Harriet Ward
  • The cousinship I don't think matters; Kirsteen brings in too strong an out-strain.

    The Freelands John Galsworthy
  • I do not know what privilege of cousinship he would not like to claim, only he is so timid.

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for cousinship


/French kuzɛ̃/
Victor (viktɔr). 1792–1867, French philosopher and educational reformer


Also called first cousin, cousin-german, full cousin. the child of one's aunt or uncle
a relative who has descended from one of one's common ancestors. A person's second cousin is the child of one of his parents' first cousins. A person's third cousin is the child of one of his parents' second cousins. A first cousin once removed (or loosely second cousin) is the child of one's first cousin
a member of a group related by race, ancestry, interests, etc: our Australian cousins
a title used by a sovereign when addressing another sovereign or a nobleman
Derived Forms
cousinhood, cousinship, noun
cousinly, adjective, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French cosin, from Latin consōbrīnus cousin, from sōbrīnus cousin on the mother's side; related to soror sister
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 cousinship



mid-12c., from Old French cosin (12c., Modern French cousin) "nephew, kinsman, cousin," from Latin consobrinus "cousin," originally "mother's sister's son," from com- "together" (see com-) + sobrinus (earlier *sosrinos) "cousin on mother's side," from soror (genitive sororis) "sister."

Italian cugino, Danish kusine, Polish kuzyn also are from French. German vetter is from Old High German fetiro "uncle," perhaps on the notion of "child of uncle." Words for cousin tend to drift to "nephew" on the notion of "father's nephew."

Many IE languages (including Irish, Sanskrit, Slavic, and some of the Germanic tongues) have or had separate words for some or all of the eight possible "cousin" relationships, e.g. Latin, which along with consobrinus had consobrina "mother's sister's daughter," patruelis "father's brother's son," atruelis "mother's brother's son," amitinus "father's sister's son," etc. Old English distinguished fæderan sunu "father's brother's son," modrigan sunu "mother's sister's son," etc.

Used familiarly as a term of address since early 15c., especially in Cornwall. Phrase kissing cousin is Southern U.S. expression, 1940s, apparently denoting "those close enough to be kissed in salutation;" Kentish cousin (1796) is an old British term for "distant relative."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cousinship



  1. Friend; person •An amiable form of address: How you doin', cousin? (1430+)
  2. A dupe; mark, pigeon (1552+ Underworld)

Related Terms

kissing cousin, cousin

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with cousinship
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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