I have seen the term nibling used more frequently over the past year.

Coined by Samuel E. Martin, a professor at Yale University in around 1951, nibling is a gender-neutral term, replacing niece and nephew. 

We are used to using sibling as a gender neutral term for a brother or sister, so maybe we will slip more and more into the habit of using nibling for the child of a sibling.

Swedish has a word for sibling – syskon. But Swedes are taught in school that English has no single word for brothers and sisters. I think this is because English teachers in schools in Sweden are native Swedish speakers.

Pupils also tend to be taught to say the silent letters in salmon, almond, debt and bomb. This is very difficult for me to correct in adult speakers.



Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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