a brother or sister.
Anthropology. a comember of a sib, a unilateral descent group thought to share kinship through a common ancestor.


of or relating to a brother or sister: sibling rivalry.

Origin of sibling

before 1000; late Middle English: relative, Old English; see sib, -ling1
Related formshalf-sib·ling, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for siblings

relative, sister, brother, kinfolk, kin, sib

Examples from the Web for siblings

Contemporary Examples of siblings

Historical Examples of siblings

  • These legacies were never paid in full, an omission which further widened the gap between him and his siblings.

  • My love to Mama, the siblings and yourself and kindly regards to the great magnate.

British Dictionary definitions for siblings



  1. a person's brother or sister
  2. (as modifier)sibling rivalry
any fellow member of a sib

Word Origin for sibling

C19: specialized modern use of Old English sibling relative, from sib; see -ling 1
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 siblings



"brother or sister," 1903, modern revival (in anthropology) of Old English sibling "relative, kinsman," from sibb "kinship, relationship; love, friendship, peace, happiness," from Proto-Germanic *sibja- "blood relation, relative," properly "one's own" (cf. Old Saxon sibba, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch sibbe, Old High German sippa, German Sippe, Gothic sibja "kin, kindred"), from PIE s(w)e-bh(o)- (cf. Old Church Slavonic sobistvo, Russian sob "character, individuality"), an enlargement of the root *swe- "self" (see idiom). Related to the second element in gossip.

The word 'sib' or 'sibling' is coming into use in genetics in the English-speaking world, as an equivalent of the convenient German term 'Geschwister' [E.&C. Paul, "Human Heredity," 1930]

In Old English, sibb and its compounds covered grounds of "brotherly love, familial affection" which tended later to lump into love (n.), e.g. sibsumnes "peace, concord, brotherly love," sibbian (v.) "bring together, reconcile," sibbecoss "kiss of peace." Sibship, however, is a modern formation (1908). Sib persisted through Middle English as a noun, adjective, and verb expressing kinship and relationship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

siblings in Medicine




One of two or more individuals having one or both parents in common; a brother or sister.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.