(plural: ‘cousins‘; pronunciation: the letter ‘c’ is said with a ‘k’ sound)

(family relationship)  a child of one’s uncle or aunt: the ‘first cousin’/’full cousin’ is the child of a person’s uncle or aunt; the ‘second cousin’ is the child of a person’s parents’ first cousin, and the ‘third cousin’ is the child of a person’s parents’ second cousin;

an informal way of addressing a person belonging to the same group, community, social rank, interests or country of the person addressing,

Tsar Nicholas II (L), the last emperor of Russia and his cousin George V, the king of British Empire


Though they are cousins, John and Pamela don’t like each other; they always quarrel and tell on each other.

It is a bit tricky to understand the difference between first cousin, second cousin, third cousin and so on, and to further complicate the things, we have such additions as  ‘once removed’ and ‘twice removed’ and so on; however, just to sum up, the simpler way to remember ‘cousin relationship’ can be that ‘your mother’s “first cousin” is your “second cousin once removed”!

When a person says “our Australian cousins”, the person is supposed to be from England because most of the first Australian European settlers were from England and so the present English people feel that they are distant relatives of the present Australians in one way or the other.

Note: The word ‘cousin’ is a common gender word, i.e. it can be used for a boy/man or girl/woman.  However, using ‘sister’ or ‘brother’ after “cousin” to make it clear whether one is referring to a boy/man or girl/woman is considered wrong usage.  Therefore do not say ‘cousin sister’ or ‘cousin brother’; just say ‘cousin’ for both genders.

Note: ‘Cousins’, always with a capital ‘C’ and with an ‘s’, is often found in the names of people, e.g. Joseph Cousins, William Cousins, Lillian Cousins, etc.

American Pop singer Madona (L), Canadian singer Celine Dion (C) & Camilla (R), the Duchess of Cornwall of England

For a well-explained article on blog about the cousin relationship, please click here; for an interesting article that tells us about the top politicians and their cousins, please click here; for an interesting article that gives information about ten very famous people who married their cousins, please click here; and for an article that discusses the pros and cons of ‘cousin marrying cousin’ in America, please click here, and in UK, please click here.
Compare: country cousin

About the Author:BC Kumar

BC Kumar, an English Language Teacher, taught in numerous countries including Ethiopia, Oman and India, shares his knowledge and passion for the English Language. Disclaimer: This is a free educational website and all content has been compiled by the author. All copyrights to images and videos belong to their respective owners.

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