nephew

[nef-yoo or, esp. British, nev-yoo]

noun

a son of one's brother or sister.
a son of one's spouse's brother or sister.
an illegitimate son of a clergyman who has vowed celibacy (used as a euphemism).
Obsolete. a direct descendant, especially a grandson.
Obsolete. a remote male descendant, as a grandnephew or cousin.

Nearby words

  1. nephele,
  2. nepheline,
  3. nephelinite,
  4. nephelite,
  5. nephelometer,
  6. nephilim,
  7. nepho-,
  8. nephogram,
  9. nephograph,
  10. nephology

Origin of nephew

1250–1300; Middle English neveu < Old French < Latin nepōtem, accusative of nepōs nephew, grandson; akin to Old English nefa, Dutch neef, German Neffe, Old Norse nefi; the pseudo-etymological spelling with ph has influenced pronunciation

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nephew


British Dictionary definitions for nephew

nephew

noun

a son of one's sister or brother

Word Origin for nephew

C13: from Old French neveu, from Latin nepōs; related to Old English nefa, Old High German nevo relative

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 nephew

nephew

n.

c.1300, from Old French neveu (Old North French nevu) "grandson, descendant," from Latin nepotem (nominative nepos) "sister's son, grandson, descendant," in post-Augustan Latin, "nephew," from PIE *nepot- "grandchild," and in a general sense, "male descendant other than son" (cf. Sanskrit napat "grandson, descendant;" Old Persian napat- "grandson;" Old Lithuanian nepuotis "grandson;" Dutch neef; German Neffe "nephew;" Old Irish nia, genitive niath "son of a sister," Welsh nei). Used in English in all the classical senses until meaning narrowed in 17c., and also as a euphemism for "the illegitimate son of an ecclesiastic" (1580s). The Old English cognate, nefa "nephew, stepson, grandson, second cousin" survived to 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper