[ sis-ter ]
See synonyms for: sistersisters on

  1. a female offspring having both parents in common with another offspring; female sibling.

  2. Also called half sister. a female offspring having only one parent in common with another offspring.

  1. a female friend or protector regarded as a sister.

  2. a thing regarded as feminine and associated as if by kinship with something else: The ships are sisters.

  3. a female fellow member, as of a church.

  4. a female member of a religious community that observes the simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

  5. British. a nurse in charge of a hospital ward; head nurse.

  6. Informal. a term used to refer to or address a fellow Black woman; soul sister.

  7. a woman who supports, promotes, or participates in feminism.

  8. Informal. a form of address used to a woman or girl, especially jocularly or contemptuously: Listen, sister, you've had enough.

  1. being or considered a sister; related by or as if by sisterhood: sister ships.

  2. having a close relationship with another because of shared interests, problems, or the like: We correspond with school children in our sister city.

  1. Biochemistry. being one of an identical pair.

Origin of sister

First recorded before 900; Middle English (noun) from Old Norse systir; cognate with Old English sweoster, Dutch zuster, German Schwester, Gothic swistar; akin to Serbo-Croatian sèstra, Lithuanian sesuõ, Latin soror (from unattested swesor ), Old Irish siur, Welsh chwaer, Sanskrit svasar “sister,” Greek éor “daughter, niece”

Other words from sister

  • sis·ter·less, adjective
  • sis·ter·like, adjective
  • non·sis·ter, noun, adjective

Words Nearby sister Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sister in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sister


/ (ˈsɪstə) /

  1. a female person having the same parents as another person

  1. a female person who belongs to the same group, trade union, etc, as another or others

  2. informal a form of address to a woman or girl, used esp by Black people in the US

  3. a senior nurse

  4. mainly RC Church a nun or a title given to a nun

  5. a woman fellow member of a Church or religious body

  6. (modifier) belonging to the same class, fleet, etc, as another or others: a sister ship

  7. (modifier) biology denoting any of the cells or cell components formed by division of a parent cell or cell component: sister nuclei

Origin of sister

Old English sweostor; related to Old Norse systir, Old High German swester, Gothic swistar

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