Meaning of uncle in English:


Pronunciation /ˈʌŋkl/

Translate uncle into Spanish


  • 1The brother of one's father or mother or the husband of one's aunt.

    ‘he visited his uncle’
    • ‘tell me something interesting, Uncle’
    • ‘Uncle Alfred’
    • ‘Along with the children of the dead, there were the mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, husbands and wives; except that in one case, there was neither husband nor wife.’
    • ‘She is mourned and sadly missed by her loving husband, children, mother, uncles, aunts, cousins, and all her relatives and friends.’
    • ‘There are fathers, brothers and uncles and husbands and wives working for the company.’
    • ‘We are either fathers or mothers, aunts or uncles, grandfathers or grandmothers, the last category tending to have an exalted position in the hierarchy of affection for young children.’
    • ‘Can't her cousins and aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers and mother and father and friends have some time with her?’
    • ‘Deepest sympathy is extended to his sons Micheal and Richard, mother Mary, brothers, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and a wide circle of friends.’
    • ‘They've invited me to their house parties where I met their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, and sisters.’
    • ‘I wish more grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters would set their stories down on tape for family, friends and future generations.’
    • ‘He is mourned by parents Aidan and Chris, proprietors, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and a host of friends.’
    • ‘He is deeply regretted by his mother Catherine, brothers, sisters; aunts, uncles; in-laws, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.’
    • ‘The people who died were mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers and friends.’
    • ‘These relatives suffered the stress of living with the fact that they would not provide a bit of care, comfort and attention to their fathers or mothers, sisters or brothers, aunts or uncles.’
    • ‘We're talking about our own family members - aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers grandparents, parents and children.’
    • ‘She is survived by her husband Patrick, son Sean, daughter Katie, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, relatives and friends.’
    • ‘She had the body of someone who worked for it, and as Lyn had seen all of her fat aunts, uncles, cousins, mother, father, and grandparents she knew what Noel was worried about.’
    • ‘He will also be missed by numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.’
    • ‘These are our grandmothers and aunts and uncles and fathers and sisters and cousins and close friends.’
    • ‘I have a loving mother, father, grandparents, uncles, aunts, family in general.’
    • ‘Numerous people wept for their friends, husbands, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings and in some distressing cases, young sons and daughters.’
    • ‘She is survived by her father, mother, brother, grand-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.’
    relative, relation, blood relation, blood relative, family member, one's own flesh and blood, next of kin
    1. 1.1 informal An unrelated adult male friend, especially of a child.
      • ‘My dad's best man was his closest friend, Rocky, who was basically an uncle to me.’
      • ‘We became uncles to the little boy and warm friends with the parents.’
      • ‘He is more like your friendly neighbourhood uncle with a passion for sports.’
      • ‘The only real explanation I can provide is that he looks like your gentle, friendly uncle.’
    2. 1.2 archaic, informal A pawnbroker.
      • ‘The English term of ‘my uncle’ as a euphemism for the pawnbroker dates back to the middle of the seventeenth century.’


    Uncle Tom Cobley and all
    British informal
    • Used to denote a long list of people.

      • ‘Widdicombe fair is a little rural fair held in the broad-spoken heart of Dartmoor, Devon, during the course of which seven old men - ‘Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all’ - ride around on a grey mare.’
      • ‘With newspapers relying in part on whispers from security services, as well as other sources, Proetta was accused of involvement in prostitution, drugs, assault, knowing criminals and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.’
      • ‘There are few people who deliberately set themselves up for the public mauling he received at the hands of politicians, business leaders, broadcasters, journalists, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.’
      • ‘The toppled minister is invariably an indispensable friend and support, be it Blunkett, Mandelson, Derry Irvine, Alastair Campbell or Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all.’


      With allusion to the ballad Widdicombe Fair in G. Bantock's One Hundred Songs of England.

    cry uncle
    North American informal
    • Surrender or admit defeat.

      • ‘he fought for a while, but he pretty quickly cried uncle’
      • ‘Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all the bad guys are either dead or cry uncle.’
      • ‘Plenty of people thought we should have just let the Confederate states go their own way in 1861 - but even they knew that if we beat General Lee on the field and occupied enough of the South, that the CSA would cry uncle and quit.’
      • ‘I will hound that poor excuse of a human being until he yells uncle or stops posting vapid, unproven horse nonsense that all of you seem to believe.’
      • ‘We want to hose someone with verbiage until they yell uncle.’
      • ‘I'm pretty strong for my size so I was going to hold it like that until he said uncle.’
      • ‘You might think the banks would be crying uncle by now.’
      • ‘Not all of them, I regret to report, are crying uncle.’
      • ‘The tech lobby isn't likely to cry uncle any faster.’
      • ‘The stubborn one-time peanut vendor may have to cry uncle again.’
      • ‘We gave our rep a quick call to complain, but it became apparent the only way to go home was to cry uncle on the radio.’


Middle English from Old French oncle, from late Latin aunculus, alteration of Latin avunculus ‘maternal uncle’ (see avuncular).