Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


This post was filled in Oldport, in those days, by my cousin Kate.

"A cousin from Australia," she concluded: they had cousins there.

He wrote to his cousin Helen asking if he might bring a friend with him.

The second point in this category is own cousin to the above.

Is there anything you want me to do in this sad affair, cousin Hester?

I send now a message to our cousin Charles which his whole kingdom may read.

My cousin, Miss Agnes Lynch, must be very careful as to her associates.

She says they're vulgar for an innocent country girl like her cousin, Agnes Lynch.

He must have slipped his cousin's leash, for he was at the Nicaragua almost as soon as I was.

Rico did not find his cousin in the sitting-room; so he went to the kitchen, and opened the door.


mid-12c., from Old French cosin (12c., Modern French cousin) "nephew, kinsman, cousin," from Latin consobrinus "cousin," originally "mother's sister's son," from com- "together" (see com-) + sobrinus (earlier *sosrinos) "cousin on mother's side," from soror (genitive sororis) "sister."

Italian cugino, Danish kusine, Polish kuzyn also are from French. German vetter is from Old High German fetiro "uncle," perhaps on the notion of "child of uncle." Words for cousin tend to drift to "nephew" on the notion of "father's nephew."

Many IE languages (including Irish, Sanskrit, Slavic, and some of the Germanic tongues) have or had separate words for some or all of the eight possible "cousin" relationships, e.g. Latin, which along with consobrinus had consobrina "mother's sister's daughter," patruelis "father's brother's son," atruelis "mother's brother's son," amitinus "father's sister's son," etc. Old English distinguished fæderan sunu "father's brother's son," modrigan sunu "mother's sister's son," etc.

Used familiarly as a term of address since early 15c., especially in Cornwall. Phrase kissing cousin is Southern U.S. expression, 1940s, apparently denoting "those close enough to be kissed in salutation;" Kentish cousin (1796) is an old British term for "distant relative."



nounhelper, friend
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.