a relative by marriage.

1890–95; back formation from mother-in-law, brother-in-law, etc. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
1.  a relative by marriage
2.  (postpositive; in combination) related by marriage: a father-in-law
[C19: back formation from father-in-law, etc]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1894, "anyone of a relationship not natural," abstracted from father-in-law, etc.
"The position of the 'in-laws' (a happy phrase which is attributed ... to her Majesty, than whom no one can be better acquainted with the article) is often not very apt to promote happiness." ["Blackwood's Magazine," 1894]
The earliest recorded use of the phrase is in brother-in-law (13c.); the law is Canon Law, which defines degrees of relationship within which marriage is prohibited.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
My sister and brother-in-law are suitably awestruck.
My sister-in-law bought a bunch of holiday-themed fabrics, and sewed them into bags.
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