a brother of one's father or mother.
an aunt's husband.
a familiar title or term of address for any elderly man.
Slang. a pawnbroker.
(initial capital letter) Informal. Uncle Sam.
a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter U.
say/cry uncle, Informal. to concede defeat: They ganged up on him in the schoolyard and made him say uncle.

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French uncle, Old French oncle < Latin avunculus mother's brother, equivalent to av(us) mother's father + -unculus suffix extracted from diminutives of n-stems (see homunculus)

uncleless, adjective
uncleship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
uncle (ˈʌŋkəl)
1.  a brother of one's father or mother
2.  the husband of one's aunt
3.  a term of address sometimes used by children for a male friend of their parents
4.  slang a pawnbroker
Related: avuncular
[C13: from Old French oncle, from Latin avunculus; related to Latin avus grandfather]

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

late 13c., from O.Fr. oncle, from L. avunculus "mother's brother," lit. "little grandfather," dim. of avus "grandfather," from PIE root *awo- "grandfather, adult male relative other than one's father" (cf. Arm. hav "grandfather," Lith. avynas "maternal uncle," O.C.S. uji "uncle," Welsh ewythr "uncle").
Replaced O.E. eam (usually maternal; paternal uncle was fædera), which represents the Gmc. form of the root (cf. Du. oom, O.H.G. oheim "maternal uncle," Ger. Ohm "uncle"). Also from French are Ger., Dan., Swed. onkel. First record of Dutch uncle (and his blunt, stern, benevolent advice) is from 1838; Welsh uncle (1747) was the first cousin of one's parent. To say uncle as a sign of submission in a fight is N.Amer., attested from 1918, of uncertain signification.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see cry uncle; Dutch uncle.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Uncle found a skull face carved on brownish rock, hand size, and the back of
  the rock is smooth.
Her father, grandfather and uncle took turns driving her there and back until
  she got her license.
Although an uncle left the chair to him, another family member who had it on
  loan seemed reluctant to surrender possession.
Argon's uncle responds really well to this development.
Idioms & Phrases
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