Familial Terms


New Member
USA - American English
I was memorizing vocabulary from the page of familial terms in The Oxford Picture Dictionary, when I realized they'd made a small error, by failing to correctly indicate the difference between a siostreniec and a bratanek. Poles seem to specify gender of relations, including intermediaries, more finely than speakers of other languages. I decided to compile a list of the more-complex familial terms I could discover in my dictionary (PWN-Oxford Multimedialny Słownik 2005) and through Wikipedia (pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relacja_rodzinna). Since this list might be useful to other learners, I'm posting it here. Enjoy!

Familial Relationships/Powinowactwa lub Koligacja
Great-Grandparents & Great-Grandchildren
great-grandfather: pradziadek, pradziad
great-gradmother: prababcia, prababka
great-grandson: prawnuk
great-granddaughter: prawnuczka

Uncles & Aunts

uncle: wujek, wuj
uncle (paternal [father's brother/brother-in-law]): stryj (archaic)
uncle (husband of parent's sister): wuj pociot, wuj naciot
aunt: ciotka
aunt (wife of parent's brother): wujna, wujenka (archaic)

Nephews & Nieces

nephew (brother's son): bratanek
nephew (sister's son): siostrzeniec
niece (brother's daughter): bratanica
niece (sister's daughter): siostrzenica

sibling: rodzeństwo
cousin (aunt's child): rodzeństwo cioteczne
cousin (aunt's son): brat cioteczny
cousin (aunt's daugter): siostra cioteczna
cousin (uncle's child): rodzeństwo stryjeczne
cousin (uncle's son): brat stryjeczny
cousin (uncle's daugter): siostra stryjeczna
cousin: kuzyn/kuzynka
second cousin: drugi kuzyn/druga kuzynka
third cousin: trzeci kuzin/trzecia kuzynka

father-in-law (husband's father): świekier, śwokier
mother-in-law (husband's mother): świekra
father-in-law (wife's father): teść
mother-in-law (wife's mother): teściowa
son-in-law: zięć
daughter-in-law: synowa
brother-in-law: szwagier
sister-in-law (sister of wife or husband): szwagierka
sister-in-law (wife of brother): bratowa

stepfather: ojczym
stepmother: macocha
stepson: pasierb
stepdaughter: pasierbica
stepbrother: przyrodni brat
stepsister: przyrodnia siostra

twin: bliźniak
twin-brother: brat-bliźniak
twin-sister: siostra-bliźniaczka

adopted: przybrany
Corrections and comments are most welcome.

Also, while searching for another thread I might have appended this information to, I found one with an interesting list of familial diminutives, compiled by meta_fora:

Since it fits into my new and broader theme of familial vocabulary, I thought I'd format this information nicely and repost it here:
matka (mother)
Modern Diminutives: mama, mamusia, mamcia, mamuś, mamunia
Archaic Diminutives: mateczka, matuś, matula, matusia

ojciec (father)
Modern Diminutives: tata, tatuś, tatunio
Archaic Diminutives: tatko, tatulo, ojczulek, papa, papko

babcia (grandmother)
Diminutives: babuś, babunia, babusia, babuńcia

dziadek (grandfather)
Diminutives: dziadzio, dziadziuś
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  • mcibor

    Senior Member
    Yes, with small spelling error, that's correct.

    wife's father: teść
    wife's mother: teściowa

    and coming out of usage arehusband's father: świekr, świekier
    husband's mother: świekra

    Also for uncle is mostly used diminutive wujek
    wujenka, stryj and stryjenka are rarely used nowadays

    Very good list I must say :)


    Senior Member
    In terms of current usage I would limit/adjust the list (parts of which seemed bizzare to me, as I never encountered such usage) in these points (some were already covered by mcibor):

    Uncles & Aunts[/U]
    uncle: wujek, wuj(archaic)
    uncle (paternal [father's brother/brother-in-law]): stryj (archaic - but still used relatively often)
    uncle (husband of parent's sister): wuj pociot, wuj naciot!!never heard - use:wujek

    aunt (wife of parent's brother): wujna, wujenka (archaic-!!never heard) - use: ciotka

    siblings: rodzeństwo - never heard it used in singular
    cousins (aunt's children): rodzeństwo cioteczne
    cousins (uncle's children): rodzeństwo stryjeczne
    I guess you can use term rodzeństwo in singular in a rather formal context - but I haven't had to yet ;)

    father-in-law (husband's father): świekier, śwokier-!!never heard- use: teść
    mother-in-law (husband's mother): świekra-!!never heard[/B]- use: teściowa

    That's how I would use it or heard it (in Kraków) - I bet there are family differences as to the traditions of usage, but being quite uneducated in these terms I give you what me & likes use or heard used.
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    Senior Member
    I can't imagine anyone using a term like brat cioteczny when it's easier to simply say, syn cioci.

    My family is from the southeast, and we just call everyone kuzyn or kuzynka. It makes life much easier.
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    Senior Member
    Polish, German
    Actually brat cioteczny is quite common, unlike brat stryjeczny for example. But you're right, with kuzyn you can't go wrong.


    Senior Member
    Uncles & Aunts
    uncle (paternal [father's brother/brother-in-law]): stryj (archaic) - stryj - brat ojca
    I would not say it is very archaic, in my family still in used
    uncle (husband of parent's sister): wuj pociot, wuj naciot
    never heard in real life
    aunt: ciotka, ciocia more often
    sibling: rodzeństwo
    cousin (aunt's child): rodzeństwo cioteczne simple kuzynostwo
    cousin (aunt's son): brat cioteczny simple kuzyn
    cousin (aunt's daugter): siostra cioteczna simple kuzynka
    cousin (uncle's child): rodzeństwo stryjeczne not much used
    cousin (uncle's son): brat stryjeczny not much used
    cousin (uncle's daugter): siostra stryjeczna not much used
    father-in-law (husband's father): świekier, śwokier in used teść
    mother-in-law (husband's mother): świekra teściowa
    adopted: przybrany, dziecko adoptowane

    As I remember, there was in some Wladyslaw Kopalinski dictionary - Słownik mitów i tradycji kultury, every or almost every relationshipis in family. I remember one excellent: zeuwa, it is housband's sister. I think only my sister in low still use it :)

    What I don't see is
    Father and m other of son/daughter in swat & swatowa


    Senior Member
    What I don't see is Father and m other of son/daughter in swat & swatowa

    Polish swat is usually translated as matchmaker.

    I think that the usage of swat/swatowa in the meaning of father/mather of son-in-law/daughter-in-law is reduced to only some parts of Poland.


    Senior Member
    polski / Polish
    As I remember there is an old Polish saying 'Ani mi on brat, ani swat.' which might be using the first meaning of swat (He's no brother to me nor swat.)