## 2040: Sibling-in-law

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Quizatzhaderac
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### 2040: Sibling-in-law

Title text: FYI, it turns out "...because I haven't figured out whether he would be my brother-in-law or not" does NOT qualify as a "reason why these two should not be wed."

This reminds me of that O'Henry short story where that sniper shoots somebody in a war, and when he gets a good look at the face, it turns out the guy was his brother's wife's sister's wife's sister's husband's brother's wife's sister's sister-wife's brother's husband's brother!
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Hiferator
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Apparently the second level is called co-siblings-in-law in Southern India (where the local language makes that distinction).

If you want to be boring, you could also just call them nth order siblings-in-law and most people could probably figure out what you mean.

On the other hand, if you're ambitious, how about throwing some half- or step-siblings into the mix?

In German we use "Schwager/Schwägerin" for the first level of in-laws. At least in Southern Germany and Austria "Schwippschwager/Schwippschwägerin" is used for the second level, possibly for higher levels, but usually you don't follow the line of in-law-ship so far that it becomes relevant.

I propose "Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager" for level 3, and "Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwopp-Schwager" for level 4, in the style of the "hemi-demi-semi-quaver".

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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Hiferator wrote:In German we use "Schwager/Schwägerin" for the first level of in-laws. At least in Southern Germany and Austria "Schwippschwager/Schwippschwägerin" is ...
Heh. That sounds like ... no. Mustn't make fun of other languages.

Hiferator wrote:I propose "Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager" for level 3, and "Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwopp-Schwager" for level 4, in the style of the "hemi-demi-semi-quaver".
Oh, alright. I'll say it. You're making it sound like Glukoza lyrics.

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airdrik
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

How about we come up with a numbering system in the style of Erdos or Bacon numbers which identifies people based on how many indirections it takes to get to them?
For example: my parents, wife and children would have 1s being the most directly related to me. I think I'd also use 1 for siblings, though I could also see just using 2 for them to indicate that to get to them from me you have to go through my parents. Grandparents (and aunts and uncles), grandchildren, wife's parents (and siblings), and children's spouses would get 2s, etc.

There could be two variations for includes vs. excludes (close) friends (or colleagues), so that my daughter's friend's mother's sister-in-law's hair dresser's ex-fiance's hunting buddy's son's best friend would be a 10.

squall_line
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Hiferator wrote:Apparently the second level is called co-siblings-in-law in Southern India (where the local language makes that distinction).

For my wife's brother's wife (my wife's Sister-in-law) I would use "Sister-in-law-in-law", which is clunky. My mom was one of 5 sisters, and my dad and uncles all referred to themselves as "a group of fellow out-laws". This seems in line with "co-sibling-in-law", but with a traditional Chicagoan sarcastic/subversive/self-deprecating twist.

Mikeski
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

If you're doing this, you need to figure out what to call the people in the row above, too.

Obviously, the ones above "me" are mother and father, and the ones above "spouse" are mother-in-law/father-in-law.

What about the ones just to the left of that? Are your sister's husband's parents your parents-in-law, too? Parents-in-law-once-removed?

(I suppose none of these--my list or the comic's--are in-laws, since in-laws are not supposed to marry, and you can't have double-cousins without two siblings marrying two other siblings.)

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Krenn
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

I first had this argument back in high school... I still maintain that the only "true" in-laws are the Spouse's immediate family members.

further spouses OF her immediate family members are "honorary" in-laws, but only when they're physically present at family reunions.

And the chain doesn't continue beyond that.

cellocgw
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

For the genetic family side, I call everyone past first-level "some cousin." For the in-law side, I just call them whatever the SpousalUnit calls them.

I'm much more interested in their dogs than the humans anyway.
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rmsgrey
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

I know someone who was widowed and remarried, and some of his first wife's family refer to themselves as his family "out-law".

There appears to be some uncertainty as to exactly what constitutes an "in-law" - in Italian law, your spouse's blood relatives are your relatives in-law with exactly the same degree as to your spouse otherwise (so your spouse's fifth cousin twice-removed is your fifth cousin twice-removed in-law). According to the Macmillan dictionary, anyone who is your (hypothetical) child's uncle but not your brother is your brother-in-law, while sister-in-law only applies to your brother's wife or your spouse's sister (but not your spouse's brother's wife). I imagine the terminology will be updated to account for civil partnerships at some point...

And, of course, the question arises: who's more related to you? Your cousin's spouse, or your sibling's spouse's sibling's spouse?

Rombobjörn
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

They are all siblings. Not siblings-in-law, just siblings. Because they're all children of the panel frame.

Wiz
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

In my country, technically, a sibling-in-law is someone reachable via a chain of exactly one sibling relationship and exactly one marriage relationship. In practice, most people relax the second part to "exactly one or two marriage relationships", which is convenient because it means that my sibling-in-law is also my spouse's sibling-in-law (unless it's their sibling).

Thus, out of the pair marked "also siblings-in-law, I think?" in the comic, the person on the right would be considered a sibling-in-law, but the one on the left would definitely not, nor would any of the greyed-out characters.

airdrik
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

rmsgrey wrote:And, of course, the question arises: who's more related to you? Your cousin's spouse, or your sibling's spouse's sibling's spouse?

Well, given the numbering scheme I proposed above, both would be considered 4s (unless you count siblings as 2s, in which case it would be 5 and 6).

However, a more practical reference would be I would expect to (and in fact have) encounter(ed) my cousins' spouses at family reunions (as well as spouse's cousins' spouses), but siblings' spouse's siblings' spouses only at the marriages of my siblings (as well as siblings' spouse's siblings).

(also "spouse" and "sibling" are starting to look weird)

Soupspoon
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

airdrik wrote:(also "spouse" and "sibling" are starting to look weird)

That often happens if the family get-together has a free bar.

(I can't keep track of my cousins, most of the time. Luckily, though the marriages of my direct cousins that produced the various 'removed' ones were often not the last, nor first of the , it seems that - from a quick mental tally, no more than one of the marriages produced offspring to be a once-more-removed cousin. So far. Though the three-times-removed ones are yet to be marriagable/reproducible age, so they and their parents still have time.)

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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Hiferator wrote:Apparently the second level is called co-siblings-in-law in Southern India (where the local language makes that distinction).

The definitions in that wiktionary article are annoyingly heteronormative, but I don't know how to reword it without ambiguity :/
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rmsgrey
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Ultimately, I think the most significant point is that, for general use, you only need a term for how someone is connected to you through some combination of blood and marriage if that's their most significant connection to you. If they live next door, then "neighbour" is probably more relevant than "fifth cousin" or "sister-in-law-in-law-in-law".

So, beyond a certain point, genealogical connections start being a curiosity rather than something useful to have a (comparatively) brief label for. After all, we're all n'th cousins where n<about 160 (MRCA of all humans is estimated to be sometime around 1000-4000 years ago, and the average age difference between parent and child has been about 25-30 years for as far back as we can get estimates) but mostly if we know our fourth cousins (say), it's because we know them and happen to have discovered that we're related, not because they're our fourth cousins, so we don't really need a word for that relationship.

Sableagle
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

rmsgrey wrote:And, of course, the question arises: who's more related to you? Your cousin's spouse, or your sibling's spouse's sibling's spouse?
I would hope the latter, just in case something nasty and recessive runs in my family.

Then again, considering my sibling, I should hope the latter does not exist.

Soupspoon wrote:
airdrik wrote:(also "spouse" and "sibling" are starting to look weird)

That often happens if the family get-together has a free bar.

Given a few generations, it'll start happening if they're the same person too often, as well.

Alternative answer to who's more closely related: find them on the family tree.

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SuicideJunkie
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

cellocgw wrote:For the genetic family side, I call everyone past first-level "some cousin." For the in-law side, I just call them whatever the SpousalUnit calls them.

I'm much more interested in their dogs than the humans anyway.
My new puppy is starting to annoy his adoptive cousin by trying to play with her tail, but despite the difference in rambunctiousness levels they're getting along quite well.
Sadly there are no puppy in-laws, but we wouldn't get to visit them much as they'd be living overseas.

JohnTheWysard
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Just remember: if marriage is ever outlawed, then only outlaws will have in-laws.

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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

I always thought it was weird that my dad's sister's husband is my uncle, not my uncle-in-law. How is he an in-law to my dad but not to me, even though I'm one more degree removed from him?

Also, my cousin's son should be my "second nephew". There's no good reason for that not to be the case.
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

cellocgw wrote:For the genetic family side, I call everyone past first-level "some cousin." For the in-law side, I just call them whatever the SpousalUnit calls them.

I'm much more interested in their dogs than the humans anyway.

I'm not sure I'd take such advice from a person, who refers to their spouse as "SpousalUnit", no matter how amusing I actually find that phrase.

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enderlord99
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Each marriage link adds an "-in-law" to whatever is the longest genetic subsection of the (shortest possible) combined path. Multiple copies of "-in-law" can be replaced by "-in-[N]th-law" where [N] is the number of "-in-law"s that would otherwise be present.

Pfhorrest
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Does anyone have words for people formerly related by marriage? Two of my aunts have ex-husbands who I refer to as my ex-uncles but I’m never sure anyone is going to understand that or what else I might say instead.

They are both fathers to cousins of mine so it’s not like they are just “some guy my aunt used to be married to” and nothing to me.

I once, as a child, met another kid who was waiting around for “his brother” to pick him up, and eventually my older cousin showed up to pick him up. Surprised, as we had just met, we figured out that he was my dad’s sister’s ex-husband’s (i.e. my ex-uncle’s) new wife’s son, and therefore my cousin’s new step-brother, or my... ex-step-cousin?

Would his wife then be my ex-step-cousin-in-law? Are cousins’ spouses cousins in law? Or likewise spouses’ cousins?
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Heimhenge
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

I don't see any of my ex's family anymore, but when I need to refer to them I just say "former" father-in-law, mother-in-law, whatever. Calling them "ex" makes it sound like I divorced them ... and my former father-in-law was actually a really nice guy.

jjcote
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

I remember meeting a woman at a wedding. It was the day that we became related, as she is now my brother's wife's brother's wife's brother's wife. I was quite excited. I also understand that she has a brother who is married, but I haven't had the pleasure of meeting that woman.

da Doctah
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Two troublesome ones from sixties television....

In a TV movie, Tim Conway played a divorced man whose ex-wife had remarried Jan Murray. When Conway and Murray met, the latter greeted the former with a cheery "Hey, it's my husband-in-law!"

Second: on The Dick Van Dyke Show, it was mentioned fairly often that Mel Cooley was Alan Brady's brother-in-law (with strong implications that this was the only reason he had become the show's producer). What was not often made clear was whether Mel was married to Alan's sister, or Alan married to Mel's sister. There are only a handful of times where the answer to this was specified, and I believe they did it differently on different occasions.

qvxb
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

There's a problem when your family tree is a dowel.

rmsgrey
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

da Doctah wrote:Second: on The Dick Van Dyke Show, it was mentioned fairly often that Mel Cooley was Alan Brady's brother-in-law (with strong implications that this was the only reason he had become the show's producer). What was not often made clear was whether Mel was married to Alan's sister, or Alan married to Mel's sister. There are only a handful of times where the answer to this was specified, and I believe they did it differently on different occasions.

Any reason they couldn't both be true?

NotAllThere
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Where I'm from (as opposed to where I live -> for which see the post concerning Southern Germany, but put it into a Swiss German dialect...) my wife's sister is my sister-in-law, but her husband is just my wife's brother-in-law.
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da Doctah
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

rmsgrey wrote:
da Doctah wrote:Second: on The Dick Van Dyke Show, it was mentioned fairly often that Mel Cooley was Alan Brady's brother-in-law (with strong implications that this was the only reason he had become the show's producer). What was not often made clear was whether Mel was married to Alan's sister, or Alan married to Mel's sister. There are only a handful of times where the answer to this was specified, and I believe they did it differently on different occasions.

Any reason they couldn't both be true?

Only the reason that, if both were true, someone would certainly have commented on that.

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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

NotAllThere wrote:Where I'm from (as opposed to where I live -> for which see the post concerning Southern Germany, but put it into a Swiss German dialect...) my wife's sister is my sister-in-law, but her husband is just my wife's brother-in-law.

That's the formulation I use for my wife's sister's husband. It doesn't seem right to call him my brother-in-law. (Added to which, I don't want to be any more associated with the guy than I have to!)

Then again, I have trouble thinking of myself as being my wife's nephews' uncle. Fortunately they're Colombian and there's a distinction in (Colombian?) Spanish: my wife is their tia, whereas I'm their tio politico. I guess that translates as something like "uncle-in-law", which seems right. On the other hand, though, they were born long before I met my wife, so it feels wrong to suddenly claim such a close familial relationship to them. I feel more avuncular with respect to my "political nephew" who is younger than our marriage - I was there at the beginning.

Thinking about it, I have no reference point for how it feels the other way, as I only have one aunt and she was divorced before I was born, so I never met my own only "political uncle".
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da Doctah
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Sometimes even a simple familial relationship can be cumbersome. When Robin Williams took his own life in response to being diagnosed with a crippling disease, I wondered if his "The Crazy Ones" co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar felt any odd discomfort about the similarities between his death and that of her father-in-law.

Then I got sidetracked wondering if you could really call Freddie Prinze SMG's "father-in-law" given that he died before she was born.

Heimhenge
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

da Doctah wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
da Doctah wrote:Second: on The Dick Van Dyke Show, it was mentioned fairly often that Mel Cooley was Alan Brady's brother-in-law (with strong implications that this was the only reason he had become the show's producer). What was not often made clear was whether Mel was married to Alan's sister, or Alan married to Mel's sister. There are only a handful of times where the answer to this was specified, and I believe they did it differently on different occasions.

Any reason they couldn't both be true?

Only the reason that, if both were true, someone would certainly have commented on that.

Agree. Would have been too useful a plot device to ignore. Something similar happened in my family. Both my dad and one of his brothers married into the same family. I didn't think about it much as a kid ... just called them all uncles and aunts, and their kids my cousins. But now that I think about it, my dad and his brother would have thereby become also brothers-in-law.

Mikeski
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Heimhenge wrote:Both my dad and one of his brothers married into the same family. I didn't think about it much as a kid ... just called them all uncles and aunts, and their kids my cousins. But now that I think about it, my dad and his brother would have thereby become also brothers-in-law.

And those cousins would have been your "double first cousins", with two paths of cousin-ship: "Mom's sister's kid" and "Dad's brother's kid" being the same kid.

Genetically, they'd be twice as similar to you as normal cousins; equal to half-siblings. If either your dad and his brother, or the sisters they married, were identical twins, you would be even closer; twin brothers marrying twin sisters have "double cousin" children who are genetically indistinguishable from their own siblings.

In the USA, it looks like that would only matter in North Carolina, where first-cousin marriage is legal, unless they're double first cousins.

bottles
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

Heimhenge wrote:
da Doctah wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
da Doctah wrote:Second: on The Dick Van Dyke Show, it was mentioned fairly often that Mel Cooley was Alan Brady's brother-in-law (with strong implications that this was the only reason he had become the show's producer). What was not often made clear was whether Mel was married to Alan's sister, or Alan married to Mel's sister. There are only a handful of times where the answer to this was specified, and I believe they did it differently on different occasions.

Any reason they couldn't both be true?

Only the reason that, if both were true, someone would certainly have commented on that.

Agree. Would have been too useful a plot device to ignore. Something similar happened in my family. Both my dad and one of his brothers married into the same family. I didn't think about it much as a kid ... just called them all uncles and aunts, and their kids my cousins. But now that I think about it, my dad and his brother would have thereby become also brothers-in-law.

If two sets of identical twins have children, the resulting first cousins are as genetically similar as siblings, right?

Mikeski
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

bottles wrote:If two sets of identical twins have children, the resulting first cousins are as genetically similar as siblings, right?

/points to the comment immediately before yours

OP Tipping
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

I mean not everything has to have a separate word. You can just say wife's brother's wife, or brother in law's wife.

If that seems long, just form portmanteaus from the first syllables. Wibrowi. Wibrowifasihu.
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

OP Tipping wrote:I mean not everything has to have a separate word. You can just say wife's brother's wife, or brother in law's wife.

If that seems long, just form portmanteaus from the first syllables. Wibrowi. Wibrowifasihu.

Wibrowi and Fasihu: aren't they Chelsea's front two this season?

Also, is there a term for a word like that made up of the first syllable or the first few letters of each word (e.g. BoJo for Boris Johnson) ? It's not quite an acronym, and it's quite a recent development.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

rmsgrey
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

orthogon wrote:Also, is there a term for a word like that made up of the first syllable or the first few letters of each word (e.g. BoJo for Boris Johnson) ? It's not quite an acronym, and it's quite a recent development.

Apparently (in other words, I've only got a single source, but they seem to know what they're talking about on related matters) when the word "acronym" was first introduced (in the early 20th century), it was used both for words made out of the initial letters of other words and for words made out of the first few letters. Either "acronym" is more recent than you think, or this type of formation is older.

jgh
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

To do this properly you need Cantonese.

GlassHouses
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### Re: 2040: Sibling-in-law

jgh wrote:To do this properly you need Cantonese.
Spoiler:

I guess if you live in a culture with strong extended families, where people tend to have specific responsibilities to one another depending on the exact nature of their relationship, it will come much more naturally to think in those terms.

As a modern westerner, from a very spread-out family with basically no ties beyond grandparents, aunts, uncles, and first cousins, and with no real responsibilities beyond the nuclear family, that Chinese-style jargon would be completely useless.

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