from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The sister of one's father or mother.
  • noun The wife of a sibling of one's mother or father.
  • noun Used as a form of address for an older woman, especially by children.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The sister of one's father or mother; also, in address or familiar use, the wife of one's uncle.
  • noun Formerly used by alumni of Oxford and Cambridge as a title for the “sister university.”
  • noun An old woman; an old gossip.
  • noun A procuress; a loose woman.
  • noun The head so used.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The sister of one's father or mother; -- correlative to nephew or niece. Also applied to an uncle's wife.
  • noun obsolete An old woman; and old gossip.
  • noun obsolete A bawd, or a prostitute.
  • noun a puppet head placed on a pole and having a pipe in its mouth; also a game, which consists in trying to hit the pipe by throwing short bludgeons at it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A sister or sister-in-law of someone’s parent.
  • noun A person's grandparent's sister or sister-in-law.
  • noun A grandmother.
  • noun An affectionate term for a woman of an older generation than oneself, especially a friend of one's parents, by means of fictive kin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the sister of your father or mother; the wife of your uncle


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English aunte, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin amita, paternal aunt.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English aunte, from Anglo-Norman aunte, from Old French ante, from Latin amita ("father's sister"). Displaced native Middle English modrie ("aunt") (from Old English mōdriġe ("maternal aunt"); compare Old English faþu, faþe ("paternal aunt")).


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  • It's Sunday afternoon in the Vatican. The pope is working on the Sunday crossword puzzle*. He's got most of the clues, but there's that pesky bottom left corner still to go.

    Fortunately, since he's the pope, there's a bunch of cardinals hovering round to offer help. So he asks:

    "Excuse me, your eminence, but I need a four-letter word for a 'female relative'".

    "Certainly, Holy Father. Tell me, do you know any of the letters?"

    "Why yes, actually. This word ends in U-N-T."

    A moment's reflection from the cardinal:

    "Why yes, Holy Father. I think the word you are looking for must be 'aunt'. A-U-N-T."


    "Thank you, your eminence."

    Longer pause, followed by a sigh:

    "Your eminence, do you have an eraser I could borrow?"

    *: without invoking his powers of infallibility, natch.

    April 11, 2008