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[sib-ling] /ˈsɪb lɪŋ/
a brother or sister.
Anthropology. a comember of a sib, a unilateral descent group thought to share kinship through a common ancestor.
of or relating to a brother or sister:
sibling rivalry.
Origin of sibling
before 1000; late Middle English: relative, Old English; see sib, -ling1
Related forms
half-sibling, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for siblings
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • My love to Mama, the siblings and yourself and kindly regards to the great magnate.

  • These legacies were never paid in full, an omission which further widened the gap between him and his siblings.

British Dictionary definitions for siblings


  1. a person's brother or sister
  2. (as modifier): sibling rivalry
any fellow member of a sib
Word Origin
C19: specialized modern use of Old English sibling relative, from sib; see -ling1
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 siblings



"brother or sister," 1903, modern revival (in anthropology) of Old English sibling "relative, kinsman," from sibb "kinship, relationship; love, friendship, peace, happiness," from Proto-Germanic *sibja- "blood relation, relative," properly "one's own" (cf. Old Saxon sibba, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch sibbe, Old High German sippa, German Sippe, Gothic sibja "kin, kindred"), from PIE s(w)e-bh(o)- (cf. Old Church Slavonic sobistvo, Russian sob "character, individuality"), an enlargement of the root *swe- "self" (see idiom). Related to the second element in gossip.

The word 'sib' or 'sibling' is coming into use in genetics in the English-speaking world, as an equivalent of the convenient German term 'Geschwister' [E.&C. Paul, "Human Heredity," 1930]
In Old English, sibb and its compounds covered grounds of "brotherly love, familial affection" which tended later to lump into love (n.), e.g. sibsumnes "peace, concord, brotherly love," sibbian (v.) "bring together, reconcile," sibbecoss "kiss of peace." Sibship, however, is a modern formation (1908). Sib persisted through Middle English as a noun, adjective, and verb expressing kinship and relationship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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siblings in Medicine

sibling sib·ling (sĭb'lĭng)
One of two or more individuals having one or both parents in common; a brother or sister.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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