Non-binary and gender-neutral terms are becoming more prevalent in today’s world. Familial terms like “aunt” and “uncle” often come with gender ties (“aunt” is a woman, “uncle” is a man). This article will explore a few non-binary terms for aunt or uncle you can use in your writing.
The best gender-neutral terms for aunt or uncle are “parent’s siblings,” “ommer,” and “pibling.” These are great options if you’re trying to avoid a gendered term. If you do not want to identify the specific gender of one of your parent’s siblings, these terms are the best.
1. Parent’s Siblings
“Parent’s siblings is a non-binary term for aunt or uncle. It works well because it does not specify gender in any way. Instead, it shows that your aunt or uncle is a sibling to one of your parents. You do not have to give them a gender if you don’t want to.
You may give your “parent” a gender when using this phrase. For example, you can say:
- Dad’s sibling
- Mom’s sibling
As long as “sibling” is kept as a gender-neutral term, you will still be able to use it as a gender-neutral phrase for an aunt or uncle.
- This is one of my parent’s siblings. You’ll find them very interesting to speak with about some of these issues.
- That’s one of my dad’s siblings. I really like them and would love it if you gave them a chance to learn more about them.
- My mom’s siblings are all just like her. They must have had one of the most annoying households growing up.
“Ommer” is an interesting choice that is starting to gain traction. It’s not well-known, but it’s getting more popular as more people are looking for gender-neutral terms to refer to their aunt or uncle with.
“Ommer” can work for both an aunt and an uncle. For example, if you have one of the following in your family:
- Aunt Jackie
- Uncle Tim
You would be able to call them “ommer” like so:
- Ommer Jackie
- Ommer Tim
“Ommer” removes the need to identify gender in any way.
- This is my ommer. I think you’ll like them a lot, and I hope you’ll be happy to chat with them about their decisions.
- I love my ommer, and I wouldn’t change them for the world. They mean everything to me, and I hope that comes across.
- My ommer is in the hospital right now. I wish I could do something to help them, but I have no idea where to start.
“Pibling” is a shortened form of “parental sibling.” It shows that you do not want to gender your aunt or uncle based on their personal choices. It’s a fairly easy one to work out, so even if people haven’t heard it before, it doesn’t take long to understand.
If they still don’t understand it, you may have to explain the meaning of “pibling.” After all, gender-neutral terms like this are relatively new to the English language, and there is a lot of growth needed before they become common knowledge.
- Have you met my pibling yet? They’re such a loving soul. I feel so content when I’m around them and learning their stories.
- I think that’s his pibling, though I can’t be sure. I’ve only met them once before, and I can’t work out their face.
- Your pibling is so lovely! Thank you for letting me speak to them. I learned so much about their plight.
“Parsib” is another good synonym that uses a different short form of “parental sibling.” Again, it shows that you do not need to gender your aunt or uncle.
It’s best to ask your aunt or uncle which name they prefer if they’d rather be gender-neutral or non-binary. It is usually a personal choice, so it’s best to confer with them to see what they like.
- I have two parsibs that I think you’ll really get along with. I want you to come to the barbeque this weekend to meet them.
- This is my parsib, and they’re having a hard time right now. Do you mind talking them through what you learned?
- Her parsib doesn’t like me very much. It’s such a shame because I know how close they are to each other.
“Auncle” is a hybrid of “aunt” and “uncle” that you can use to show that the gender is irrelevant. You can combine the two words to show that your auncle is either a man, woman, both, or neither gender.
It is very dependent on your auncle and how they identify themselves. Again, it’s always best to ask them what they prefer to see whether “auncle” works best for them.
“Auncle” is a fairly uncommon choice that most people think is a mispronunciation of “uncle.” You need to ensure you stress the “au” sound at the start to get this one right.
- Didn’t you say they were your auncle? I thought I recognized them, but I wasn’t sure if it was the same person.
- My auncle will be here any minute. I really hope you like them. They’re by far my favorite relative at these events.
- You’re going to be an auncle! How happy are you now, Jules? I can’t wait to let you meet my new baby!
“Nuncle” is an option that comes from Ann Leckie’s novel Provenance. It is used to refer to a third gender rather than a man or woman. It’s not technically a non-binary or gender-neutral term.
However, you may find it useful as a gender-neutral term, based on who you are referring to. If your nuncle prefers to be referred to as a “nuncle,” then that’s up to them.
- I refer to myself as a nuncle because I do not identify as either of the genders. I hope you can be open-minded enough to accept that.
- That’s my nuncle. If you try to misgender them, you’ll be met with some backlash. Just be a bit careful, okay?
- That’s my nuncle. I love them very much, and I hope you love them too. It’s going to be interesting to see your chat.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.