AskDefine | Define uncle

Dictionary Definition



1 the brother of your father or mother; the husband of your aunt [ant: aunt]
2 a source of help and advice and encouragement; "he played uncle to lonely students"

User Contributed Dictionary



Via and oncle, from avunculus ‘mother’s brother’ but literally "little grandfather", the diminutive of avus "grandfather," from the Proto-Indo-Euroean root awo- "grandfather, adult male relative other than one's father"
this word replaced O.E. eam (usually maternal; paternal uncle was fædera), which represents the Germanic form of the same root



  1. A brother or brother-in-law of someone’s parent.
  2. In the context of "figuratively": A source of advice, encouragement, or help.
  3. In the context of "UK|informal": A pawnbroker.
  4. In the context of "Southern US|colloquial": A close male friend of the parents of a family.

Related terms


brother (or brother-in-law) of someone’s parent
source of advice, encouragement, or help
  • Armenian: քեռի (k‘eŕi)
  • Dutch: oompje, suikeroom
  • Finnish: kummisetä
  • Japanese: 話相手 (hanashiaite)
  • Portuguese: tio
  • Russian: дядя
UK informal: pawnbroker
See also pawnbroker
  • Albanian: fajdexhi
  • Danish: onkel
  • Dutch: pandjesbaas
  • French: ma tante
  • Russian: ростовщик
close male friend of the parents


Extensive Definition

Uncle may refer to:
  • A family relationship, either the brother of a parent or the husband of a sibling of a parent. A woman with an equivalent relationship is an aunt, and the reciprocal relationship is that of a nephew or niece. See Cousin.
  • A title of respect for elders (for example neighbours, acquaintances, as well as total strangers), especially in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, China, Maori culture and most Pacific Islands
  • A cry of surrender
An idiom:
  • Dutch uncle, a person who delivers stern lectures
  • Uncle Sam, a personification of the United States
  • Uncle Tom, a pejorative term for a black person who plays up to racial stereotypes
  • Uncle Tom Cobley, a British folk saying meaning "etcetera"
  • Bob's your uncle, a Commonwealth expression roughly equivalent to "and there you have it"
A person:
A book:
A fictional character:
  • Uncle Albert, a character in the sitcom Only Fools and Horses
  • Uncle Ben, a character in the Spider-Man comic book
  • Uncle Creepy, a character in the Creepy horror-comics magazine
  • Uncle Duke, a character in the comic strip Doonesbury
  • Uncle Fester, a character in the sitcom The Addams Family
  • Uncle Fred, a character in the short stories and novels of P. G. Wodehouse
  • Uncle Henry (Oz), a character in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Uncle Iroh from the animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Uncle Jesse, one of several characters
  • Rich Uncle Pennybags, the mascot of the Monopoly game
  • Uncle Remus, the fictional narrator of a collection of African American folktales
  • Uncle Ruckus, self-hating African American white supremacist from the comic strip and animated televisions series The Boondocks
  • Uncle Scrooge, the main character in the Scrooge McDuck comic books
  • Uncle Chan from Jackie Chan Adventures
A film or television show:
A piece of music:
A food product:
uncle in Breton: eontr
uncle in Danish: Onkel
uncle in Mongolian: Авга
uncle in Dutch: Oom
uncle in Norwegian: Onkel
uncle in Russian: Дядя

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aunt, auntie, blood brother, brethren, brother, bub, bubba, bud, buddy, country cousin, cousin, cousin once removed, cousin twice removed, daughter, father, first cousin, foster brother, frater, grandnephew, grandniece, granduncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, half brother, kid brother, mother, nephew, niece, nuncle, nunks, nunky, second cousin, sis, sissy, sister, sister-german, sistern, son, stepbrother, stepsister, unc, uncs, uterine brother
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