Im a little confused about something [terminology for in-laws]

So I have a question that’s been bugging me for months :smack: I’m married is my siblings and my husbands siblings in laws as well ? For example my sister (Nina) my husbands sister (ilena) are They consider in laws as well? :confused:

Not in the general definition, no. Here’s the same question answered by some hobby-genealogists. kinship terminology - What is the relationship name of my (brother/sister)-in-law's (brother/sister) to me? - Genealogy & Family History Stack Exchange

You’re not the only one confused :slight_smile: Previous thread on the topic:

Title edited to indicate subject. Please use descriptive thread titles.

General Questions Moderator

Technically speaking, brother-in-law or sister-in-law only applies to the sibling of one’s spouse, or the spouse of one’s sibling. It does not extend to the spouses or siblings (as the case may be) of those individuals.


In practice, however, people tend to extend the term to other individuals related by blood or marriage to their spouse or siblings. This is a little like extending the terms “aunt” and “uncle” to older relatives, even if technically they are cousins or some other relationship.

It seems like there should be a word for that relation, but as far as I know there isn’t.

I have one such relation who is really a part of the family. He is my oldest brother’s brother-in-law, or he is my sister-in-law’s brother if you prefer: he is the brother of my eldest brother’s wife.
He was also my eldest brother’s roommate in college.
He also shared an apartment with my other brother for most of a decade.

It was the younger of my two brothers introducing him to a friend who realized that there isn’t a word for the kind of family relationship we have with him. “This is my, … stranger, I guess. His sister married my brother.” is the way he put it. :wink:

Out of all my relatives who married, that is the only relationship where I consider more than just the spouse to be part of my family. But there is no word for it.

Thai has four words that translate as spouse’s sibling, and four different words that translate as sibling’s spouse. (The choice among the words depends on age and gender.) The words for sibling’s spouse are also used to denote spouse’s sibling’s spouse.

Thai also has a single-syllable word for an important relationship awkward to express in English: one’s child’s parent-in-law. If my daughter marries your son, you and I are ดอง /dahng/. (A same-spelled word means ‘pickled’ – I don’t know if they’re chance homonyms or considered semantic relatives! :cool: )

I always refer to my wife’s family as “the outlaws”

When marriage is illegal, only outlaws will have in-laws.

I refer to my sister-in-law’s (my brother’s wife) brother, as such; not my brother-in-law. However I do refer to my sister-in-law’s (my wife’s sister) brother, as my brother-in-law, as he is also my wife’s brother.