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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.