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[sis-ter] /ˈsɪs tər/
a female offspring having both parents in common with another offspring; female sibling.
Also called half sister. a female offspring having only one parent in common with another offspring.
a female friend or protector regarded as a sister.
a thing regarded as feminine and associated as if by kinship with something else:
The ships are sisters.
a female fellow member, as of a church.
a female member of a religious community that observes the simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
British. a nurse in charge of a hospital ward; head nurse.
a fellow black woman.
a woman who supports, promotes, or participates in feminism.
Informal. a form of address used to a woman or girl, especially jocularly or contemptuously:
Listen, sister, you've had enough.
being or considered a sister; related by or as if by sisterhood:
sister ships.
having a close relationship with another because of shared interests, problems, or the like:
We correspond with school children in our sister city.
Biochemistry. being one of an identical pair.
Origin of sister
before 900; Middle English (noun) < Old Norse systir; cognate with Old English sweoster, Dutch zuster, German Schwester, Gothic swistar; akin to Serbo-Croatian sèstra, Lithuanian sesuõ, Latin soror (< *swesor), Old Irish siur, Welsh chwaer, Sanskrit svasar sister, Greek éor daughter, niece
Related forms
sisterless, adjective
sisterlike, adjective
nonsister, noun, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sister
  • My sister gets exasperated with having to repeat what she tells me so many times.
  • My sister and brother-in-law are suitably awestruck.
  • In the latest episode of scientific gene-twisting, a horse births a foal cloned as her genetic twin sister.
  • My husband refuses to play enabler, and my sister picks up on this and resents him for it.
  • At eight he would produce the gun when he wanted his sister to change the channel from a soap opera to a cartoon.
  • Tell me a tale about animals who really are people and make a sister sad.
  • My sister has bi-polar and my mom takes care of her now.
  • The former prime minister on his trial, how his sister could win the upcoming elections and when he will end his exile.
  • Instead, experts say, the skull likely belongs to a sister or precursor species to modern humans.
  • Even his sister tends to require more and increased stimuli for information to make an impact.
British Dictionary definitions for sister


a female person having the same parents as another person
a female person who belongs to the same group, trade union, etc, as another or others
(informal) a form of address to a woman or girl, used esp by Black people in the US
a senior nurse
(mainly RC Church) a nun or a title given to a nun
a woman fellow member of a Church or religious body
(modifier) belonging to the same class, fleet, etc, as another or others: a sister ship
(modifier) (biology) denoting any of the cells or cell components formed by division of a parent cell or cell component: sister nuclei
Word Origin
Old English sweostor; related to Old Norse systir, Old High German swester, Gothic swistar
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 sister

mid-13c., from Old English sweostor, swuster "sister," or a Scandinavian cognate (Old Norse systir, Swedish syster, Danish søster), in either case from Proto-Germanic *swestr- (cf. Old Saxon swestar, Old Frisian swester, Middle Dutch suster, Dutch zuster, Old High German swester, German Schwester, Gothic swistar).

These are from PIE *swesor, one of the most persistent and unchanging PIE root words, recognizable in almost every modern Indo-European language (e.g. Sanskrit svasar-, Avestan shanhar-, Latin soror, Old Church Slavonic, Russian sestra, Lithuanian sesuo, Old Irish siur, Welsh chwaer, Greek eor). French soeur "a sister" (11c., instead of *sereur) is directly from Latin soror, a rare case of a borrowing from the nominative case.

According to Klein's sources, probably from PIE roots *swe- "one's own" + *ser- "woman." For vowel evolution, see bury. Used of nuns in Old English; of a woman in general from 1906; of a black woman from 1926; and in the sense of "fellow feminist" from 1912. Meaning "female fellow-Christian" is from mid-15c. Sister act "variety act by two or more sisters" is from vaudeville (1908).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sister



: wearing sissy clothes (1891+)

  1. A timorous, weak, and effeminate male; daisy, lily, pansy (1887+)
  2. A male homosexual; pansy: No more sissies for Jimmy Smith (1970s+)

[fr sis fr sister]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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