nephew

[nef-yoo or, esp. British, nev-yoo]
See more synonyms for nephew on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a son of one's brother or sister.
  2. a son of one's spouse's brother or sister.
  3. an illegitimate son of a clergyman who has vowed celibacy (used as a euphemism).
  4. Obsolete. a direct descendant, especially a grandson.
  5. Obsolete. a remote male descendant, as a grandnephew or cousin.

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. 2018


Examples from the Web for nephew

Contemporary Examples of nephew

Historical Examples of nephew

  • It was Chrysippus, prince of Clazomenæ, the nephew of Anaxagoras.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • On his death-bed he charged his nephew to protect and cherish me as a sister.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • His nephew, with his coat stripped off, was sitting on the side of the bed.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He was beginning to be more afraid and more distrustful of his nephew than ever.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • There sat his nephew in the old place, apparently not having stirred.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger


British Dictionary definitions for nephew

nephew

noun
  1. 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
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