aunt

[ ant, ahnt ]
/ ænt, ɑnt /

noun

the sister of one's father or mother.
the wife of one's uncle.
Chiefly New England and South Midland U.S. (used as a term of respectful address to an older woman who is not related to the speaker).
Slang. an aging gay man.

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Origin of aunt

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English aunte, from Anglo-French, equivalent to Old French ante, from Latin amita “father's sister,” old feminine past participle of amāre “to love,” i.e., “beloved”

pronunciation note for aunt

The usual vowel of aunt in the United States is the [a] /æ/ of rant except in New England and eastern Virginia, where it is commonly the “New England broad a, ” a vowel similar to French [a] /a/ and having a quality between the [a] /æ/ of hat and the [ah] /ɑ/ of car. The vowel [ah] /ɑ/ itself is also used. In New England and eastern Virginia [ah] /ɑ/ or the [a] /a/ -like sound occur in aunt in the speech of all social groups, even where a “broad a ” is not used in words like dance and laugh. Elsewhere, the “broader” a is chiefly an educated pronunciation, fostered by the schools with only partial success (“Your relative isn't an insect, is she?”), and is sometimes regarded as an affectation. Aunt with the vowel of paint is chiefly South Midland United States and is limited to folk speech.
The [a] /æ/ pronunciation of aunt was brought to America before British English developed the [ah] /ɑ/ in such words as aunt, dance, and laugh. In American English, [ah] /ɑ/ is most common in the areas that maintained the closest cultural ties with England after the [ah] /ɑ/ pronunciation developed there in these words.

OTHER WORDS FROM aunt

aunt·like, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH aunt

ant, aunt
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for aunt

British Dictionary definitions for aunt

aunt
/ (ɑːnt) /

noun (often capital, esp as a term of address)

a sister of one's father or mother
the wife of one's uncle
a term of address used by children for any woman, esp for a friend of the parents
my aunt! or my sainted aunt! an exclamation of surprise or amazement

Word Origin for aunt

C13: from Old French ante, from Latin amita a father's 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