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mid-14c., "having the same parents," derived from german (adj.); cf. human/humane, urban/urbane. Main modern sense of "closely connected, relevant" (c.1600) derives from use in "Hamlet" Act V, Scene ii: "The phrase would bee more Germaine to the matter: If we could carry Cannon by our sides," which is a figurative use of the word in the now-obsolete sense of "closely related, akin" (late 15c.) in reference to things, not persons.