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8 Ways to Say ‘Cousin’ in Chinese

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We know we uncomplicated the Chinese family tree a bit a few articles ago (which you can read here), but here we are. We’re re-complicating it for you with eight specific names for your cousins depending on your relation to them. Much like the distinction of the Mandarin Nainai and Yeye for your paternal grandparents, and Waipo and Waigong for the maternal grandparents, your cousins are distinguished that way, as well. Add into the mix your ages, and you’ve got their new titles.

  1. Dad’s brother’s son (if older than you) – 堂兄 (Táng xiōng)
  2. Dad’s brother’s son (if younger than you) – 堂弟 (Táng dì)
  3. Dad’s brother’s daughter (if older than you) – 堂姐 (Táng jiě)
  4. Dad’s brother’s daughter (if younger than you) – 堂妹 (Táng Mèi)
  5. Dad’s sister’s or Mom’s sibling’s son (if older than you) –表哥 (Biǎo gē)
  6. Dad’s sister’s or Mom’s sibling’s son (if younger than you) – 表弟 (Biǎo dì)
  7. Dad’s sister’s or Mom’s sibling’s daughter (if older than you) -表姐 (Biǎo jiě)
  8. Dad’s sister’s or Mom’s sibling’s daughter (if younger than you) -表妹 (Biǎo mèi)

While this isn’t strictly enforced in my family and we just go around calling cousins Ahia and Atsi, maybe it is for yours? We’d love to know what you call your cousins!

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