Husband/wife of brother/sister-in-law

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Arabus, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Arabus Senior Member

    United States

    Are there names in English for those people? are they in-laws as well?
  2. xqby

    xqby Senior Member

    Santa Maria, CA
    English (U.S.)
    Wait, what? This is more like a logic puzzle than an English question.
    The wife of your brother-in-law is your sister, and the husband of your sister-in-law is your brother.

    If you're talking about the spouses of your spouse's siblings then yes, I think they'd just be in-laws as well. The word "in-law" literally means that you are related by law, by marriage, rather than by blood.
  3. Arabus Senior Member

    United States
    How is the wife of my brother-in-law is my sister? and the husband of my sister-in-law is my brother?

    I'm not making this up, there are words for these things in Arabic (عديل & سلفة). I am looking for the best quivalents.

    I am asking the following: my wife has a sister. This sister is married to a man that I am not related to. Is this man my in-law? does he have a specifc name in English? I don't think he has one, I am just making sure.

    So according to you, he would be my in-law, Thank you.
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    The thing is, brother-in-law can mean two things:
    (1) my wife's {or husband's} brother
    (2) my sister's husband

    Similarly, sister-in-law can mean
    (1) my wife's {or husband's} sister
    (2) my brother's wife.

    So the answer is "in the context of meaning (2)";)

    I think I'd refer to him as "my wife's sister's husband" or "my sister-in-law's husband".
  5. xqby

    xqby Senior Member

    Santa Maria, CA
    English (U.S.)
    I was halfway just being silly; if your sister marries a man then he is now your brother-in-law but your sister is still your sister.

    I think the most common way in English to describe the man you specifically reference would just be to say "my wife's sister's husband." You are correct, to my knowledge we have no specific term for him.

    If you were going to spend time with a group of men related to you in a similar way (e.g. your wife has several sisters, all married) then yeah, you'd probably just say "my in-laws."
  6. Arabus Senior Member

    United States
    Thank you, Loob and xqby.
  7. vicky1027 Senior Member

    usa english
    I find that interesting, because I call my sister in-law's brother in-law. (ie the man married to my husband's sister)

    My husband does the same on my side of the family.

  8. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    English has many fewer kinship terms than some other languages. My brother's wife is my sister-in-law, and my husband's sister is also my sister-in-law. My sister's husband is my brother-in-law, and my wife's brother is also my brother-in-law.

    (Of course no one would have all these relatives at once :eek: )
  9. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I think that is what xqby said. If you wanted to describe the specific relationship you would have to use a phrase. You could say "brother-in-law" but it wouldn't indicate whether it was your sister's husband or your spouse's brother or your spouse's sister's husband. :) In other words, it's a catchall word in English.

    In Spanish, for example, there is a word that means "spouse of one's own spouse's brother or sister." It is a specific word for that relationship and no other. Apparently, from what Arabus is saying, there is a word for this relationship in Arabic, too. We don't have such a word in English.
  10. Arabus Senior Member

    United States
    Yea, Arabic has got million words for different relatives.


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