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agnate (AG-nayt) adjective

1. Related on or descended from the father's or male side.

2. Coming from a common source; akin.


A relative on the father's or male side only.

[Latin agnatus, past participle of agnasci, to become an agnate : ad-, + nasci, to be born.]

Pierre Majerus, Luxembourg: Chapter 2A. Form of Government., Countries of the World, 01-01-1991. "On April 17, 1907 Grand Duke William IV, last agnate of the senior branch of the House of Nassau, father of six princesses but denied a male heir, promulgated a family statute under which his eldest daughter, Princess Marie - Adelaide, was declared heir presumptive to the Crown."

While English has one of the most expansive vocabularies among languages, one area where it is easy to notice its impoverishment is in words to describe relations. When you introduce a bright young fellow as your brother-in-law, you don't really tell much. He could be any of the maybe half dozen people in your kinship. On the other hand, many languages have words to describe even the most complicated relation concisely and unambiguously. In the Hindi language, for example, there are distinct words to spell out all possibilities of brothers-in-law, and in some cases, there are separate words depending on whether the bro-in-law is younger or older than the person through whom this relationship takes place. At any rate, one English term that doesn't leave any room for equivocation is mother-in-law. It anagrams to: Woman Hitler.

In this week's AWAD let's enrich our verbal clan with some words about relations. -Anu


Integrity has no need of rules. -Albert Camus (1913-1960)

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