Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sister or sister-in-law of someone’s parent.
  • n. A person's grandparent's sister or sister-in-law.
  • n. A grandmother.
  • n. 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The sister of one's father or mother; -- correlative to nephew or niece. Also applied to an uncle's wife.
  • n. An old woman; and old gossip.
  • n. A bawd, or a prostitute.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

  • n. the sister of your father or mother; the wife of your uncle

Etymologies

Middle English aunte, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin amita, paternal aunt.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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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."

    Pause.

    "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

  • Neat map, but too sparse representation in the Western states, it seems to me, to tell me much about some of these...

    April 11, 2008

  • See this map for American pronunciation.

    April 10, 2008

  • Pronounced like the bug. Y'know, I'm just setting the record straight.

    May 29, 2007