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From Middle English sister, suster, partly from Old Norse systir ‎(sister) and partly from Old English swustor, sweoster, sweostor ‎(sister, nun); both from Proto-Germanic *swestēr ‎(sister), from Proto-Indo-European *swésōr ‎(sister). Cognate with Scots sister, syster ‎(sister), West Frisian sus, suster ‎(sister), Dutch zuster ‎(sister), German Schwester ‎(sister), Swedish syster ‎(sister), Icelandic systir ‎(sister), Gothic 𐍃𐍅𐌴𐍃𐍄𐌰𐍂 ‎(swēstar, sister), Latin soror ‎(sister), Russian сестра́ ‎(sestrá, sister), Lithuanian sesuo ‎(sister), Albanian vajzë ‎(girl, maiden), Sanskrit स्वसृ ‎(svásṛ, sister).



sister ‎(plural sisters or sistren)

  1. A daughter of the same parents as another person; a female sibling.
    My sister is always driving me crazy.
  2. A female member of a religious community; a nun.
    Michelle left behind her bank job and became a sister at the local convent.
  3. (Britain) A senior or supervisory nurse, often in a hospital.
  4. Any woman or girl with whom a bond is felt through common membership of a race, profession, religion or organization, such as feminism.
    Connie was very close to her friend Judy and considered her to be her sister.
  5. (slang) A black woman.
  6. (informal) A form of address to a woman.
    • What’s up, sister?
  7. A woman, in certain labour or socialist circles; also as a form of address.
    • Thank you, sister. I would like to thank the sister who just spoke.
  8. (attributively) Of or relating to an entity that has a special or affectionate, non-hierachical relationship with another.
    sister publication, sister city, sister projects
  9. (usually attributively) In the same class.
    sister ships, sister facility




  • (daughter of common parents): sibling

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sister ‎(third-person singular simple present sisters, present participle sistering, simple past and past participle sistered)

  1. (transitive, construction) To strengthen (a supporting beam) by fastening a second beam alongside it.
    I’m trying to correct my sagging floor by sistering the joists.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To be sister to; to resemble closely.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)

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sister (plural sisters)

  1. sister

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