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Another new word

December 20, 2016

I’ve written before about words we need but don’t have, and how pleasing it is when one comes along to fill the gap. I’ve just encountered a new one: niblings, to mean “nieces and nephews”. We already have siblings to mean “brothers and sisters”, so this is an apt and logical coinage. I don’t know what its provenance is but an Irish friend told me of it so perhaps it is Irish. I like it, and I’m going to use it. “I still have to buy Christmas presents for all the niblings”, etc.

At the moment my spellcheck programme puts a wiggly red line under niblings, but if we all start using it, it will make its way into dictionaries and the wiggly line will disappear.

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4 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Apparently it was coined in 1951 by a linguist named Samuel Martin. Perhaps we need the equivalent to cover uncles and aunts? Auncles?

  2. Oh, well done – thanks for that bit of research, Simon.

  3. Aikaterini Procopaki permalink

    But doesn’t it sound like nibbling? Whoever coined this word must have been bored to death by his/her own nieces and nephews and, instead of enjoying a nibling spree, wished for a nibling cutter. Besides, siblings are related to each other, nieces and nephews are not necessarily so. Rather, we need a portmanteau of these two words, so niephews? Or nildren?

  4. Well, I like the rhyme with sibling – so that for reason it’s my word of choice!

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