cous·​in ˈkə-zən How to pronounce cousin (audio)
: a child of one's uncle or aunt
: a relative descended from one's grandparent or more remote ancestor by two or more steps and in a different line
: kinsman, relative
a distant cousin
: one associated with or related to another : counterpart
Rural children deserve as good an education as their city cousins get.Benjamin Fine
used as a title by a sovereign in addressing a nobleman
: a member of a group regarded as ethnically or culturally related
our English cousins
cousinhood noun
cousinly adjective
cousinship noun

Example Sentences

Everyone came to the wedding, including a distant cousin no one had heard from in years. The cricket is a cousin of the grasshopper. hurricanes and their cousins, typhoons
Recent Examples on the Web The cousin walked away from the edge and glanced back but did not see Edgar Garay, Carlos Garay told the station. Uwa Ede-osifo, NBC News, 2 Feb. 2023 Garfield’s predecessor, Rutherford B. Hayes, was Noyes’s cousin. Joy Lanzendorfer, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2023 Also featured in the clip from The Midnight Special is Michael Bowden, Richard’s cousin, who was Ronstadt’s bass player. Dallas News, 2 Feb. 2023 Skirt steak, flank steak’s more marbled cousin, comes pretty thin already. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Feb. 2023 Ester's cousin Mordecai learned of a plot to kill the king and loyally reported it. Alesandra Dubin, Good Housekeeping, 27 Jan. 2023 That includes Turner-Foster and cousin Amiyah Peters, two of the three 1,000-point scorers in program history. Ethan Fuller,, 26 Jan. 2023 Noemí Taboada's cousin reaches out to her, asking for her help to save her. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 25 Jan. 2023 But be on the lookout for more innovations featuring cannabigerol, CBD’s more potent cousin. ELLE, 23 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cousin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English cosin, from Anglo-French cusin, cosin, from Latin consobrinus, from com- + sobrinus second cousin, from soror sister — more at sister

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of cousin was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cousin

Cite this Entry

“Cousin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


cous·​in ˈkəz-ᵊn How to pronounce cousin (audio)
: a child of one's uncle or aunt
: a relative descended from a common ancestor
: a person of a race or people ethnically or culturally related
our English cousins

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Cou·​sin kü-ˈzaⁿ How to pronounce Cousin (audio)
Victor 1792–1867 French philosopher

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