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Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Nuts and Bolts: cross cousins.

At this time of family get-togethers it's quite likely you'll have a cross cousin, but happily this doesn't imply that anyone's angry.

It's all, as so often, a matter of names: technically, a cross cousin is a descendant of a parent's opposite-sex sibling.

(A parallel or ortho-cousin is the decendant of a parent's same-sex sibling.)

This is all rather a relief unless you live in a society, such as a traditional Iroquois one, where you're quite likely to be encouraged to marry one of them.  

Word To Use Today: cross. Cross as in cross cousin or cross-legged is to do with the shape of an X-shaped cross. This meaning was extended in the 1560s to mean contrary, and by the 1630s to mean peevish.


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