From Middle English sister, suster, from Old English swustor, sweoster, sweostor (“sister, nun”); from Proto-Germanic *swestēr (“sister”), from Proto-Indo-European *swésōr (“sister”).
Cognate with Scots sister, syster (“sister”), West Frisian sus, suster (“sister”), Dutch zuster (“sister”), German Schwester (“sister”), Norwegian Bokmål søster (“sister”), Norwegian Nynorsk and Swedish syster (“sister”), Icelandic systir (“sister”), Gothic 𐍃𐍅𐌹𐍃𐍄𐌰𐍂 (swistar, “sister”), Latin soror (“sister”), Russian сестра́ (sestrá, “sister”), Lithuanian sesuo (“sister”), Albanian vajzë (“girl, maiden”), Sanskrit स्वसृ (svásṛ, “sister”), Persian خواهر (xâhar, “sister”).
In standard English, the form with i is due to contamination with Old Norse systir (“sister”).
The plural sistren is from Middle English sistren, a variant plural of sister, suster (“sister”); compare brethren.
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɪs.tə(ɹ)/
Audio (UK) (file)
- (General American) enPR: sĭs'tər, IPA(key): /ˈsɪs.tɚ/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɪstə(ɹ)
- Homophone: cister
- Hyphenation: sis‧ter
sister (plural sisters or (archaic in most senses) sistren)
- A daughter of the same parents as another person; a female sibling.
- A female member of a religious order; especially one devoted to more active service; (informal) a nun.
- Any butterfly in the genus Adelpha, so named for the resemblance of the dark-colored wings to the black habit traditionally worn by nuns.
- (Britain) A senior or supervisory nurse, often in a hospital.
- Synonym: charge nurse
- Any woman or girl with whom a bond is felt through common membership in a community, race, profession, religion, organization, or ism.
- Connie was very close to her friend Judy and considered her to be her sister.
- 1985, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”, in Who’s Zoomin' Who?, performed by Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin:
- Sisters are doing it for themselves / Standing on their own two feet
- (slang, sometimes capitalized) A black woman.
- (informal) A form of address to a woman.
- 1932, Delos W. Lovelace, King Kong, published 1965, page 13:
- "Listen, sister. I've got a job for you."
- What’s up, sister?
- A woman, in certain religious, labour or socialist circles; also as a form of address.
- Thank you, sister. I would like to thank the sister who just spoke.
- (attributively) An entity that has a special or affectionate, non-hierarchical relationship with another.
- Synonyms: affiliate, affiliated
- sister publication
- sister city
- sister projects
- (computing theory) A node in a data structure that shares its parent with another node.
- (usually attributively) Something in the same class.
- sister ships
- sister facility
- In Roman Catholicism, a distinction is often drawn (especially by members of female religious orders) between nuns and sisters, the former being cloistered and devoted primarily to prayer, the latter being more active, doing work such as operating hospitals, caring for the poor, or teaching.
- The plural sistren is no longer commonly used for biological sisters in contemporary English (although it was in the past) but may be found in some religious, feminist, or poetic usage.
- → Gulf Arabic: سِسْتَر (sistar, “female nurse”)
- → Japanese: シスター (shisutā)
- → Korean: 시스터 (siseuteo)
sister (third-person singular simple present sisters, present participle sistering, simple past and past participle sistered)
- (transitive, construction) To strengthen (a supporting beam) by fastening a second beam alongside it.
- I’m trying to correct my sagging floor by sistering the joists.
- (obsolete, transitive) To be sister to; to resemble closely.
- c. 1607–1608, William Shakeſpeare, The Late, And much admired Play, Called Pericles, Prince of Tyre. […], London: Imprinted at London for Henry Goſſon, […], published 1609, →OCLC, [Act V, scene 1]:
- Deep clerks she dumbs; and with her needle composes
Nature's own shape, of bud, bird, branch, or berry,
That even her art sisters the natural roses;
Her inkle, silk, twin with the rubied cherry
- Sister (disambiguation) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- Sister in the Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition, 1911)
- Alternative form of suster
From Middle English sister, syster, forms of suster influenced by Old Norse systir, from Old English sweostor, swustor, sweoster, from Proto-Germanic *swestēr, from Proto-Indo-European *swésōr.
sister (plural sisteris)