Indirect family relationships can be confusing. Are you trying to figure out the best term to refer to your wife’s brother? After all, what do you call them when you aren’t related by blood?
Here are some of the most appropriate words to use:
- His name
Your wife’s brother is your “brother-in-law,” “brother,” or call him by his name. Including “-in-law” is the best way to refer to someone you do not have a direct blood relationship with. If you want to be honorable of in-law rules, “brother-in-law” is the only correct term.
“Brother-in-law” is the best phrase to refer to your wife’s brother. It shows you do not have a blood relationship with him, but you are still related by law.
“In-law” implies that you’ve married into a family. The law states that every family member related to your marriage partner becomes yours by extension.
Most people use the “-in-law” suffix to refer to marital family ties. For example:
You can have every type of family member as an in-law.
Here are a few examples to show you how it works:
- Scott is my brother-in-law. We get on well, but I’m sure something is bothering him.
- He is my brother-in-law, and we go hunting every weekend!
“Brother” is another excellent choice for how to say your wife’s brother. It is a very respectful and caring term that removes the need to include “in-law.”
But what makes “brother” so caring?
Well, it comes down to respect and admiration. While your wife’s brother is officially known as your brother-in-law, you can refer to him as your brother if you really like him and have a strong connection with him.
It’s similar to how you might call your partner’s parents mom and dad before you marry into the family. It shows you are incredibly comfortable with them and happy to include yourself in their family.
Most of the time, your wife’s brother will be flattered if you call him “brother.” Of course, this is dependent on how close your relationship is.
Here are a few examples of how it might work:
- That’s Nick. He’s my brother, and I love him as if he came from my own mother.
- You’re my brother in every way, so I hope you understand how much you mean to me.
3. His Name
You don’t need to use a special name at all for your wife’s brother. Instead, you can just use his name.
After all, the easiest way to talk about someone is to use their name. This works well if the person you’re speaking to already knows about your wife’s brother.
Using his name is a sign of respect. It’s much more personal than saying something like “him” or “he.” For example:
- He did this.
- Darren did this.
While “he” gets the point across, “Darren” is more personal. Using your wife’s brother’s name in a situation like this will generally show more care and respect toward them.
Here are a few more examples of how it looks:
- Sean will still be coming along. I hope you don’t mind because my wife told me to invite him.
- Actually, this is Daniel’s first time coming here. I’m sure you’ll find a way to make us both welcome!
If you want something more conversational, try using “Bro.” It replaces the need to say “brother” at all. Though, remember, it is a slang term, so don’t use it formally.
Generally, “bro” is very dependent on your relationship with your wife’s brother. You need to have a strong, positive relationship with them to get away with it.
It also helps if your “bro” doesn’t mind slang terms. Some families refuse to use slang terms and don’t believe in using them. If your wife belongs to a family like this, your wife’s brother might find “bro” more offensive than endearing.
However, if your wife’s family doesn’t mind, then “bro” is a fun choice to use.
Check these examples out to see how it works:
- Jacob is my bro. I do almost everything with him now that I’ve married his sister.
- My bro is going to come along and help us fix most of this stuff.
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.