1. A child of one's aunt or uncle. Also called first cousin.
2. A relative descended from a common ancestor, such as a grandparent, by two or more steps in a diverging line.
3. A relative by blood or marriage; a kinsman or kinswoman.
4. A member of a kindred group or country: our Canadian cousins.
5. Something similar in quality or character: "There's no mistaking soca for its distant Jamaican cousin, reggae" (Michael Saunders).
6. Used as a form of address by a sovereign in addressing another sovereign or a high-ranking member of the nobility.
[Middle English cosin, a relative, from Old French, from Latin cōnsōbrīnus, cousin : com-, com- + sōbrīnus, cousin on the mother's side; see swesor- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.