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Borrowed from Middle French fraternel, from Medieval Latin frāternālis (fraternal), from Latin frāternus (of or pertaining to a brother, fraternal), from frāter (brother).



fraternal (comparative more fraternal, superlative most fraternal)

  1. Of or pertaining to a brother or brothers.
    • 1844, Roswell Park, Pantology; or a systematic survey of human knowledge[1], page 89:
      By Cognate or Domestic duties, we mean those which grow out of the different family relations; and which may be classed as conjugal, parental, filial, and fraternal.
    • 1881, Shib Chunder Bose, The Hindoos as They Are: A Description of the Manners, Customs and the Inner Life of Hindoo Society in Bengal[2]:
      The Bhratridvitiya, or fraternal rite of the Hindoos, is an institution of this nature, being admirably calculated to cement the natural bond of union between brothers and sisters of the same family.
    • 1991, From Father to Son: Kinship, Conflict, and Continuity in Genesis[3]:
      Yet, in leaving, Judah removes himself not only from fraternal violence but from familial destiny as well.
  2. Of or pertaining to a fraternity.
    • 1990, Joe William Trotter, Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia, 1915-32[4]:
      The changing Afro-American class structure shaped the war and postwar growth of black religious and fraternal organizations in southern West Virginia.
    • 1993, Donna Harsch, German Social Democracy and the Rise of Nazism[5]:
      Ambivalence toward the larger society even permeated the Reichsbanner. the only SPD fraternal organization that, on paper at least, embraced bourgeois republican groups.
    • 2005, Robin D. G. Kelley, To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans[6]:
      North and South, fraternal and sororital organizations were an integral aspect of urban culture among the mass of working-class black men and women.
  3. Platonic or friendly.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter I, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 24962326:
      [] a delighted shout from the children swung him toward the door again. His sister, Mrs. Gerard, stood there in carriage gown and sables, radiant with surprise. ¶ "Phil!  You!  Exactly like you, Philip, to come strolling in from the antipodes—dear fellow!" recovering from the fraternal embrace and holding both lapels of his coat in her gloved hands.
    • 1986, Henri de Lubac, The Christian Faith: An Essay on the Structure of the Apostles' Creed[7]:
      He took advantage of this opportunity to consider Christian liberty in its relation to the demands of fraternal charity.
    • 1994, Maija Jansson, England and the North: The Russian Embassy of 1613-1614[8]:
      And when he arrives he, our Sovereign, will receive you honorably because of his Tsar's Majesty's fraternal love and friendship to him.
  4. (genetics) Of twins or embryos, produced from two different eggs and sperm, and genetically distinct.
    • 2012, Leonard Crowley, An Introduction to Human Disease: Pathology and Pathophysiology Correlations, page 471:
      Seventy percent of twins are fraternal and result from fertilization of two separate ova by two different sperm.
    • 2012, James Luce, Chasing Davis: An Atheist's Guide to Morality Using Logic and Science:
      Because each egg and each sperm of a fraternal zygote contain slightly different genetic material, these two embryos do not have identical genetic makeups.
    • 2015, Sheldon Krimsky, Stem Cell Dialogues: A Philosophical and Scientific Inquiry Into Medical Frontiers, page 120:
      The rate of natural fraternal embryo fusion is not well documented.


Coordinate terms[edit]

  • (relating to a brother, with regard to gender): sororal
  • (relating to a brother, with regard to heredity): paternal, maternal

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


fraternal (plural fraternals)

  1. A society formed to provide mutual aid, such as insurance.
    • 1902, “Insurance and the Fraternals”, in The Underwriters Review[9], volume 11-12, page 66:
      Here comes in the importance of the proposed bill for the uniform regulation of fraternals.
    • 1967, Wisconsin Legislature Legislative Council, General Report of the Legislative Council to the Legislature[10]:
      Accident and health insurance written by fraternals are discussed under the section on fraternals.
    • 2012, Ivar Berg, Sourcebook of Labor Markets: Evolving Structures and Processes[11]:
      The ethnic fraternals benefitted from the favorable climate for fraternalism and voluntarism that existed in the United States, and borrowed ideas and practices from native organizations such as the AOUW, and from fraternals started earlier in the century by immigrants who by now were solid members of the middle class.
  2. A fraternal twin.
    • 2001, Susan Kohl, Twin Stories: Their Mysterious and Unique Bond, page 14:
      Her twins were adorable boy-girl fraternals who wore boy-girl clothes in the same fabric.
    • 2005, Kevin J. Sharpe, Has Science Displaced the Soul?: Debating Love and Happiness, page 34:
      The bulk of the confusion concerns identicals who are really fraternals.
    • 2013, Ian Osborn, Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals: The Hidden Epidemic of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder[12], page 189:
      Tests show that even in the first year of life, the fear of strangers develops more similarly along identical twins than fraternals.



Borrowed from Medieval Latin frāternālis (fraternal), from Latin frāternus (of or pertaining to a brother, fraternal), from frāter (brother).


fraternal m, f (plural fraternais, comparable)

  1. brotherly (of or characteristic of brothers)
    Synonym: fraterno



Borrowed from Medieval Latin frāternālis (fraternal), from Latin frāternus (of or pertaining to a brother, fraternal), from frāter (brother).


fraternal (plural fraternales)

  1. fraternal