9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[nees] /nis/
a daughter of a person's brother or sister.
a daughter of a person's spouse's brother or sister.
Origin of niece
1250-1300; Middle English nece < Old French < Vulgar Latin *neptia, for Latin neptis granddaughter; replacing Middle English nifte, Old English nift niece (cognate with Old Frisian, Old High German nift, Dutch nicht, Old Norse nipt) < Germanic; akin to Lithuanian neptė̃, Sanskrit naptī; cf. nephew Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nieces
  • Thank goodness my nieces are old enough to wash their hands now.
  • He is survived by a sister-in-law, two nieces and a nephew.
  • His daughters and nieces participated in the underground as well, especially by sewing rebel flags.
  • She became a guardian for two nieces and a nephew, while providing for her own two sons.
  • They help raise nieces and nephews, they often hunt with others, and they play all sorts of games.
  • The unmarried also tend to be more connected with siblings, nieces and nephews.
  • Any blood relative including those of half-blood and including first cousins, nephews, or nieces.
British Dictionary definitions for nieces


a daughter of one's sister or brother
Word Origin
C13: from Old French niece granddaughter, ultimately from Latin neptis granddaughter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nieces



c.1300, from Old French niece "niece, granddaughter" (12c., Modern French nièce), earlier niepce, from Latin neptia (also source of Portuguese neta, Spanish nieta), from neptis "granddaughter," in Late Latin "niece," fem. of nepos "grandson, nephew" (see nephew). Replaced Old English nift, from Proto-Germanic *neftiz, from the same PIE root (Old English also used broðordohter and nefene).

Until c.1600, it also commonly meant "a granddaughter" or any remote female descendant. Cf. cognate Spanish nieta, Old Lithuanian nepte, Sanskrit naptih "granddaughter;" Czech net, Old Irish necht, Welsh nith, German Nichte "niece."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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