aunt

aunt (n.) c.1300, from Anglo-Fr. aunte, from O.Fr. ante (Mod.Fr. tante, from a 13c. variant), from L. amita "paternal aunt" dim. of *amma a baby-talk word for "mother" (Cf. Gk. amma "mother," O.N. amma "grandmother," M.Ir. ammait "old hag," Heb. em, Arabic umm "mother").
Extended senses include "an old woman, a gossip" (1580s); "a procuress" (1670s); and "any benevolent woman," in American English, where AUNTIE (Cf. auntie) was recorded since c.1790 as "a term often used in accosting elderly women." The French word also has become the word for "aunt" in Dutch, German (Tante), and Danish. Swedish has retained the original Germanic (and Indo-European) custom of distinguishing aunts by separate terms derived from "father's sister" (faster) and "mother's sister" (moster). The Old English equivalents were faðu and modrige. In Latin, too, the formal word for "aunt on mother's side" was matertera. Some languages have a separate term for aunts-in-law as opposed to blood relations.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Aunt — Aunt, n. [OF. ante, F. tante, L. amita father s sister. Cf. {Amma}.] 1. The sister of one s father or mother; correlative to nephew or niece. Also applied to an uncle s wife. [1913 Webster] Note: Aunt is sometimes applied as a title or term of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • aunt — aunt; aunt·sary; ble·aunt; aunt·ie; …   English syllables

  • aunt — [a:nt US ænt] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: ante, from Latin amita] the sister of your father or mother, or the wife of your father s or mother s brother ▪ Aunt Mary →↑agony aunt …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • aunt — [ ænt ] noun count *** the sister of your mother or father, or the wife of your UNCLE: I loved visiting my aunt and uncle. Hello, Aunt Betty …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • aunt|y — «AN tee, AHN », noun, plural aunt|ies. Informal. a diminutive of aunt …   Useful english dictionary

  • aunt — [ant, änt] n. [ME & OFr aunte < L amita, paternal aunt, dim. of * amma, mother (< baby talk)] 1. a sister of one s mother or father 2. the wife of one s uncle …   English World dictionary

  • aunt|ly — «ANT lee, AHNT », adjective. of or characteristic of an aunt: »“It is no good your trying to excuse your infamous conduct…!” This is the true, auntly note (Kenneth Tynan) …   Useful english dictionary

  • aunt — ► NOUN ▪ the sister of one s father or mother or the wife of one s uncle. ORIGIN Old French ante, from Latin amita …   English terms dictionary

  • Aunt Ed|na — «EHD nuh», British. a conventional person of pedestrian tastes, especially as personifying a typical member of the audience at a play, or the average viewer of a television program …   Useful english dictionary

  • aunt|ie — «AN tee, AHN », noun. = aunty. (Cf. ↑aunty) …   Useful english dictionary

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