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nephew

[nef-yoo or, esp. British, nev-yoo] /ˈnɛf yu or, esp. British, ˈnɛv yu/
noun
1.
a son of one's brother or sister.
2.
a son of one's spouse's brother or sister.
3.
an illegitimate son of a clergyman who has vowed celibacy (used as a euphemism).
4.
Obsolete. a direct descendant, especially a grandson.
5.
Obsolete. a remote male descendant, as a grandnephew or cousin.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English neveu < Old French < Latin nepōtem, accusative of nepōs nephew, grandson; akin to Old English nefa, Dutch neef, German Neffe, Old Norse nefi; the pseudo-etymological spelling with ph has influenced pronunciation
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for nephews

nephew

/ˈnɛvjuː; ˈnɛf-/
noun
1.
a son of one's sister or brother
Word Origin
C13: from Old French neveu, from Latin nepōs; related to Old English nefa, Old High German nevo relative
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 nephews

nephew

n.

c.1300, from Old French neveu (Old North French nevu) "grandson, descendant," from Latin nepotem (nominative nepos) "sister's son, grandson, descendant," in post-Augustan Latin, "nephew," from PIE *nepot- "grandchild," and in a general sense, "male descendant other than son" (cf. Sanskrit napat "grandson, descendant;" Old Persian napat- "grandson;" Old Lithuanian nepuotis "grandson;" Dutch neef; German Neffe "nephew;" Old Irish nia, genitive niath "son of a sister," Welsh nei). Used in English in all the classical senses until meaning narrowed in 17c., and also as a euphemism for "the illegitimate son of an ecclesiastic" (1580s). The Old English cognate, nefa "nephew, stepson, grandson, second cousin" survived to 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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