What Should Family Members Call a Brother's Wife?

Family relationships can be complicated and confusing - especially for extended members of the family. This article will help you understand what different family members can call your brother's wife.

Family relationships can be complicated and confusing - especially for extended members of the family. This article will help you understand what different family members can call your brother's wife.

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All families are different and there can be some varying relationship terms used for extended members of the family. As an example, one of your parents' cousins may be commonly referred to as an aunt or uncle rather than the more complicated first cousin once removed.

If you are trying to be accurate, however, about a family connection for example your brother's wife, then there are a number of relationship terms that may apply depending entirely on the person in the family to whom you are trying to refer.

Your Brother's Wife

So let's get started with the term for your brother's wife. Almost everyone knows this term. It's likely the most obvious, she is your sister-in-law.

This term was first mentioned in text in around the 15th century and simply means that she is your sister by the legal rite of marriage.

Your Wife’s Relationship to Your Brother's Spouse

You might assume that to your spouse, your brother's wife would also just be a sister-in-law. This is not exactly the case as the correct term would be co-sister-in-law. This simply denotes that your spouse shares the “sister-in-law connection'' with you.

Your Parents' Sibling's Spouse

This is another fairly uncomplicated connection as the siblings of your parents are either aunts or uncles. Their spouses share the same official moniker of either aunt or uncle. The fact that they are not blood relatives does not necessitate the need for the addition of “in-law.”

The term aunt is also applied to the spouse of your sibling when considering their relationship to your children.

Your Half Brothers' Wife

In some families there are siblings who only share one parent and they are referred to as half-siblings. This use of the “half” term carries over to that sibling's spouse which means that your half brother's wife is your half-sister-law.

Your Brother's Children

To the children of your brother you would be known as either an uncle or an aunt. The official term for their relation to you is either niece or nephew.

Your Grandmother's Brother's Wife

Getting further away from your generation now but there is still a term for this relationship. So officially your grandmother's brother is your granduncle. Just as it is with your parents' siblings, this makes the term aunt applicable to his wife but to acknowledge the generational gap she would be your grandaunt.

As you travel further back along the generations to, for instance your great grandmother's brothers, you would simply add great grandaunt. Each corresponding generation back would add an extra “great” to the term great grandaunt.


There are many possible terms for the relationships between extended members of a family. This guide is by no means exhaustive but it should help you to understand and correctly use some of the more common ones. Familiarizing yourself with these terms will make navigating those complicated family relationships just a little bit easier.

So there you have it, a guide to what different family members might call your brother's wife. Hopefully, this article has helped clear up any confusion about appropriate terminology.

Just as every family is unique, so too are the naming conventions used within them so be sure to ask questions if you are still unsure about how someone in your family refers to their spouse or relative. Happy navigating!

Neil Edwards

Neil Edwards

Genealogist and family-tree research specialist

Neil was born in Shropshire, England surrounded by centuries of living history. His interest in the past has been a lifelong passion leading to undergraduate degrees in both Economic History & Geography and History & Politics.

This interest in history quickly translated to family history when he moved to the U.S. in 2010. It was here that he began working on his own family tree as well as that of his American wife. That research allowed him to gain a wealth of experience working with both U.S. and European genealogical documents and studying their best uses in researching family history.

Following 9 years of honing his genealogical research skills, Neil was proud to have earned a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in late 2019. Neil also took part in the research process for a Duke University study into the families of 19th Century UK Members of Parliament.

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  • "What Should Family Members Call a Brother's Wife?". NameCensus.com. Accessed on April 19, 2024. https://namecensus.com/blog/what-to-call-your-brothers-wife/.

  • "What Should Family Members Call a Brother's Wife?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/blog/what-to-call-your-brothers-wife/. Accessed 19 April, 2024

  • What Should Family Members Call a Brother's Wife?. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from https://namecensus.com/blog/what-to-call-your-brothers-wife/.