of, relating to, or characteristic of an uncle: avuncular affection.

Origin of avuncular

1825–35; < Latin avuncul(us) a mother's brother, equivalent to av(us) a forefather + *-ont- + *-l(os) diminutive suffix (cf. uncle) + -ar1
Related formsa·vun·cu·lar·i·ty, nouna·vun·cu·lar·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for avuncular

Contemporary Examples of avuncular

Historical Examples of avuncular

  • My secretary had been elevated to avuncular rank after a probation of just three hours.

  • The bitterness of the avuncular factions was now intensified.

  • I do not wish to speak of Jennie in a fatherly or avuncular manner.

  • You must write to me or I shall withdraw my avuncular relation to you.

  • She liked his avuncular, slightly quizzical attitude to them.


    Arnold Bennett

British Dictionary definitions for avuncular



of or concerned with an uncle
resembling an uncle; friendly; helpful

Word Origin for avuncular

C19: from Latin avunculus (maternal) uncle, diminutive of avus grandfather
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

Word Origin and History for avuncular

1789, from Latin avunculus "maternal uncle," diminutive of avus (see uncle) + -ar. Used humorously for "of a pawnbroker" (uncle was slang for "pawnbroker" from c.1600 through 19c.).

My only good suit is at present under the avuncular protection. ["Fraser's Magazine," 1832]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper