Definitions

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

  • noun The brother of one's mother or father.
  • noun The husband of a sibling of one's mother or father.
  • noun Used as a form of address for an older man, especially by children.
  • noun A kindly counselor.
  • noun Slang A pawnbroker.
  • noun Uncle Sam.
  • idiom (cry/say) To indicate a willingness to give up a fight or surrender.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The brother of one's father or mother; also, the husband of one's aunt: correlative to aunt.
  • noun A familiar title of address to an old man: used especially in the southern United States as a kindly title for a worthy old negro: as, “Uncle Tom's Cabin”; correlative to aunt or aunty in similar use.
  • noun A pawnbroker: so called in humorous allusion to the financial favors often expected and sometimes received from rich uncles.
  • noun A termination of some diminutive words of Latin origin, as homuncle (also homuncule), oratiuncle, etc.

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

  • noun The brother of one's father or mother; also applied to an aunt's husband; -- the correlative of aunt in sex, and of nephew and niece in relationship.
  • noun Slang A pawnbroker.
  • noun colloq. An eldery man; -- used chiefly as a kindly or familiar appellation, esp. (Southern U. S.) for a worthy old negro.”
  • noun [Slang] a pawnbroker.
  • noun a humorous appellation given to the United States Government. See Uncle Sam, in Dictionary of Noted Names in Fiction.

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

  • noun A brother or brother-in-law of someone’s parent.
  • noun euphemistic A companion to your (usually unmarried) mother.
  • noun figuratively A source of advice, encouragement, or help.
  • noun UK, informal A pawnbroker.
  • noun colloquial A close male friend of the parents of a family.
  • noun southern US, slang, archaic an older male African-American person
  • noun India, slang An affectionate name for an older man.
  • interjection A cry used to indicate surrender.

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

  • noun the brother of your father or mother; the husband of your aunt
  • noun a source of help and advice and encouragement

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin avunculus, maternal uncle; see awo- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English uncle, from Anglo-Norman uncle, from Old French oncle, from Latin avunculus ("mother’s brother”; literally, “little grandfather"), diminutive of avus ("grandfather"), from Proto-Indo-European *awo- (“grandfather, adult male relative other than one's father”). Displaced native Middle English eam, eme ("maternal uncle") (from Old English ēam ("maternal uncle"), compare Old English fædera ("paternal uncle") from the same Proto-Indo-European root. More at eme.

Examples

Comments

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  • "4. A termination of some diminutive words of Latin origin, as homuncle (also homuncule), oratiuncle, etc."

    --Century Dictionary

    March 8, 2011