Definition of avuncular
1 : suggestive of an uncle especially in kindliness or geniality avuncular indulgence Jovial and avuncular, the President's chief of staff seems oblivious to the pressures that accompany what is arguably the second most powerful job in the land. — Craig Unger
2 : of or relating to an uncle Two weeks of poker had led to his writing to his uncle a distressed, but confident, request for more funds; and the avuncular foot had come down with a joyous bang. — P. G. Wodehouse
avuncularityplay \ə-ˌvəŋ-kyə-ˈla-rə-tē, -ˈler-ə-\ noun
avuncularlyplay \ə-ˈvəŋ-kyə-lər-lē\ adverb
avuncular was our Word of the Day on 10/05/2009. Hear the podcast!
Examples of avuncular in a Sentence
a man known for his avuncular charm
Recent Examples of avuncular from the Web
Dictators are used to having their manliest poses carved into stone statues, or their most avuncular portrait printed on posters.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'avuncular'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Origin of Avuncular is Familial
Not all uncles are likeable fellows (Hamlet's murderous Uncle Claudius, for example, isn't exactly Mr. Nice Guy in Shakespeare's tragedy), but "avuncular" reveals that, as a group, uncles are generally seen as affable and benevolent, if at times a bit patronizing. Avuncular derives from the Latin noun avunculus, which translates as "maternal uncle," but since at least the 1830s English speakers have used "avuncular" to refer to uncles from either side of the family or even to individuals who are simply uncle-like in character or behavior. And in case you were wondering, "avunculus" is also an ancestor of the word uncle itself.
AVUNCULAR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of avuncular for English Language Learners
: like an uncle : kind or friendly like an uncle
Seen and Heard
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