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From Middle High German geswister, from Old High German giswestar, equivalent to ge- +‎ Schwester. Compare Old Saxon gisustrōni (sibling), Old Frisian swesterne, susterne, sisterne (siblings), Old English ġesweostren (maternal cousin, sister).


  • IPA(key): /ɡəˈʃvɪstər/, [ɡəˈʃʋɪs.tɐ]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: Ge‧schwis‧ter
  • Rhymes: -ɪstɐ


Geschwister n (strong, genitive Geschwisters, plural Geschwister, diminutive Geschwisterchen n)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) sibling

Usage notes[edit]

  • The backformed singular das Geschwister is uncommon and very rare. It is replaced with the diminutive Geschwisterchen or the compound Geschwisterkind, both of which are generally restricted to children, however. Accordingly there is no gender-neutral word for an adult sibling.
  • An alternative singular das Geschwist may also be backformed, but this is equally rare and chiefly jocular.


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