walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

great-uncle vs. grand-uncle

Again, _stumbled_ over this. Great-uncle is the one R. and I are familiar with, however, it's pretty trivial to find genealogical types online who are prepared to start a fight in favor of grand uncle. Those same types are prepared to concede that _great_ uncle is more commonly used -- but not that that is a valid argument in its favor. For what little it is worth, wikipedia asserts equivalency between the two terms and that neither is more correct. They both have age in their favor and it is possible that grand uncle is older than great uncle. One should never attempt to apply logic to language, of course.

My question is not simple to convey. Has the "genealogical community" such as it is, decided that grand-uncle is preferred and, if so, is there a stated basis for the claim? Because if this comes down to, well, one is in the OED from the 1470s and the other doesn't show up until a century later, that's a sillier argument that which-one-is-more-commonly-used. I am _not_ asking which one is correct. That's a question based on a false premise (that there is an over-arching frame which could provide a context for an answer).

I would treat this as an indication:


an uncle/aunt of one's father or mother. In U.S. frequently seen as "great-uncle" which is equivalent. Grand uncle is the older form, and is preferred."

This is _not_ where I first or second stumbled across the issue.
Tags: genealogy


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