Humanities › History & Culture Latin Names and Terms for Family Members Share Flipboard Email Print CatLane/Getty Images History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Rome Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Mythology & Religion American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated March 24, 2019 English kinship terms, although not completely transparent even to those who grew up using them, lack the complexity found in many other language systems. English speakers might struggle to determine whether someone is a cousin once removed or a second cousin, but we don't have to think twice about what the title is for a parent's sister. It doesn't matter if the parent is the father or the mother: the name is the same: 'aunt'. In Latin, we would have to know whether the aunt is on the father's side, an amita, or on the mother's, a matertera. This is not restricted to kinship terms. In terms of the sounds a language makes, there is a compromise made between ease of articulation and ease of understanding. In the realm of vocabulary, the ease might be the ease of memorizing a small number of specialized terms vs the need of others to know to whom you're referring. Sibling is more general than sister or brother. In English, we have both, but only those. In other languages, there might be a term for an older sister or younger brother and maybe none for a sibling, which could be considered too general to be useful. For those who grew up speaking, for instance, Farsi or Hindi, this list may seem as it should be, but for us English speakers, it may take some time. soror, sororis, f. sisterfrater, fratris, m. brothermater, matris, f. motherpater, patris, m. fatheravia, -ae, f. grandmotheravus, -i, m. grandfatherproavia, -ae, f. great-grandmotherproavus, -i, m. great-grandfatherabavia, f. great-great-grandmotherabavus, m. great-great-grandfatheratavia, f. great-great-great-grandmotheratavus, m. great-great-great-grandfathernoverca, -ae. f. stepmothervitricus, -, m. stepfatherpatruus, -i, m. paternal unclepatruus magnus, m. paternal great-unclepropatruus, m. paternal great-great uncleavunculus, -i, m. maternal uncleavunculus magnus, m. maternal great-uncleproavunculus, m. maternal great-great uncleamita, -ae, f. paternal auntamita magna, f. paternal great auntproamita, f. paternal great-great auntmatertera, -ae, f. maternal auntmatertera magna, f. maternal great-auntpromatertera, f. maternal great-great-auntpatruelis, -is, m./f. paternal cousinsobrinus, -i, m. maternal boy cousinsobrina, -ae, f. maternal girl cousinvitrici filius/filia, m./f. paternal step-siblingnovercae filius/filia, m./f. maternal step-siblingfilius, -i, m. sonfilia, -ae. f. daughterprivignus, -i, m. stepsonprivigna, -ae, f. stepdaughternepos, nepotis, m. grandsonneptis, neptis, f. grand-daughterabnepos/abneptis, m./f. great-grandson/great-granddaughteradnepos/adneptis, m./f. great-great-grandso/great-great-granddaughter Source Sandys, John Edwin, 1910. A Companion to Latin Studies. Cambridge University Press: London.