[ uhng-kuhl ]
See synonyms for uncle on Thesaurus.com
  1. a brother of one's father or mother.

  2. an aunt's husband.

  1. a familiar title or term of address for any elderly man.

  2. Slang. a pawnbroker.

  3. (initial capital letter)Informal. Uncle Sam.

  4. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter U.

Idioms about uncle

  1. say / cry uncle, Informal. to concede defeat: They ganged up on him in the schoolyard and made him say uncle.

Origin of uncle

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English, from Anglo-French uncle, Old French oncle, from Latin avunculus “mother's brother,” equivalent to av(us) “mother's father” + -unculus suffix extracted from diminutives of n-stems (see homunculus)

Other words from uncle

  • un·cle·less, adjective
  • un·cle·ship, noun

Words Nearby uncle

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use uncle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for uncle


/ (ˈʌŋkəl) /

  1. a brother of one's father or mother

  2. the husband of one's aunt

  1. a term of address sometimes used by children for a male friend of their parents

  2. slang a pawnbroker

Origin of uncle

C13: from Old French oncle, from Latin avunculus; related to Latin avus grandfather

Other words from uncle

  • Related adjective: avuncular

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with uncle


see cry uncle; Dutch uncle.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.