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See also: Sister



Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English sister, suster, partly from Old Norse systir (sister) and partly from Old English swustor, sweoster, sweostor (sister, nun); both 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).



sister (plural sisters)

  1. A daughter of the same parents as another person; a female sibling.
    My sister is always driving me crazy.
  2. A female member of a religious order; especially one devoted to more active service; (informal) a nun.
    Michelle left behind her bank job and became a sister at the local convent.
  3. Any butterfly in the genus Adelpha, so named for the resemblance of the dark-colored wings to the black habit traditionally worn by nuns.
  4. (Britain) A senior or supervisory nurse, often in a hospital.
  5. Any woman or girl with whom a bond is felt through common membership of a race, profession, religion or organization, such as feminism.
    Connie was very close to her friend Judy and considered her to be her sister.
  6. (slang) A black woman.
  7. (informal) A form of address to a woman.
    • What’s up, sister?
  8. A woman, in certain labour or socialist circles; also as a form of address.
    • Thank you, sister. I would like to thank the sister who just spoke.
  9. (attributively) An entity that has a special or affectionate, non-hierarchical relationship with another.
    sister publication, sister city, sister projects
  10. (usually attributively) In the same class.
    sister ships, sister facility

Usage notesEdit

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.




  • (daughter of common parents): sibling

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


sister (third-person singular simple present sisters, present participle sistering, simple past and past participle sistered)

  1. (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.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To be sister to; to resemble closely.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)


Further readingEdit





sister (plural sisters)

  1. sister

Derived termsEdit