Online Encyclopedia

NEPHEW

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 384 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NEPHEW, the son of a brother or sister. The word is adapted from Fr. neveu, Lat. nepos (originally " grandson " or " descendant "). The O. Eng. nefa survived in the form new till the 15th century; this represents the Teutonic branch, cf. Ger. Neffe, Dutch neef; the ultimate root is seen in the cognate Gr. i4lro&es, " descendants," ave,/aos, " kinsman," and Sans. napat, napt, " descendants " or " descendant." The correlative " niece," the daughter of a brother or sister, is from Fr. niece, Lat. neptis, the feminine form of nepos; the O. Eng. word was nift, cf. Ger. Nichte. A euphemistic use of " nephew " is that of the natural son of a pope, cardinal or other ecclesiastic; and from the practice of granting preferments to such children the word " nepotism " is used of any favouritism shown in finding positions for a man's family.
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