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

  • adj. Of or having to do with an uncle.
  • adj. Regarded as characteristic of an uncle, especially in benevolence or tolerance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. In the manner of an uncle, pertaining to an uncle.
  • adj. Kind, genial, benevolent, or tolerant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to an uncle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to an uncle.

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

  • adj. resembling a uncle in kindness or indulgence
  • adj. being or relating to an uncle


From Latin avunculus, maternal uncle; see awo- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin avunculus ("maternal uncle"). (Wiktionary)



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  • I don't see why not. As best as I can tell, in order to be avuncular, all you have to do is behave like a stereotypical uncle. Anyone can do that, whether they're male or female.

    July 4, 2012

  • There has been an earlier comment, but I'd love some feedback: can a woman be avuncular?

    July 3, 2012

  • Well, if it's from Finnegans Wake, you hardly need to ask...

    May 4, 2012

  • That's interesting, yarb. There is an example over on vuncular, but I can't tell whether it's intentional or a typo (or an intentional typo):

    “Avia, that simple pair, and descendant down on veloutypads by a vuncular process to Nurus and Noverca, those notorious nepotists, circumpictified in their sobrine census, patriss all of them by the glos on their germane faces and their socerine eyes like transparents of vitricus, patruuts to a man, the archimade levirs of his ekonome world.”
    --Finnegans Wake

    April 30, 2012

  • Neither vuncular nor its opposite. That to which the concept of vuncularity does not apply.

    November 29, 2011

  • Hercule Poirot offered to be her avuncular

    January 14, 2009

  • might do the trick!

    October 15, 2007

  • Sarra, see materteral. :-)

    October 15, 2007

  • Is there any word which covers the same traits (kindness, experience, generosity, maybe a bit of exuberance) in a female? Matronly is too distanced. Language hacks gladly accepted.

    October 15, 2007

  • the thing i love about avuncular is its origin in Indo-European pre-history and the probable cultural milieu: the importance of the maternal uncle/grandfather in bringing up a boy in a paternal society.

    March 26, 2007