Serbo-Croatian kinship

Serbo-Croatian kinship
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The Serbo-Croatian standard languages (Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian) have one of the more elaborate kinship (srodstvo) systems among European languages. Terminology may differ from place to place. Most words are common to other Slavic languages, though some derive from Turkish. The standardized languages may recognize slightly different pronunciations or dialectical forms; these are marked [S] (Serbian) and [C] (Croatian) below.

There are four main types of kinship in the family: biological aka blood kinship, kinship by law (in-laws), spiritual kinship (such as godparents), and legal kinship through adoption and remarriage.[1]

As is common in many rural family structures, three generations of a family will live together in a home in what anthropologists call a joint family structure, where parents, their son(s), and grandchildren would cohabit in a family home.[2]


Direct descendance and ancestry

Words for relations up to five generations removed—great-great-grandparents and great-great-grandchildren—are in common use. The fourth-generation terms are also used as generics for ancestors and descendants. There is no distinction between the maternal and paternal line. In addition, specialized terms for ancestry up to sixteen generations have been coined for use in genealogical circles, but these are not commonly known.[note 1]

Latin Cyrillic Relation
potomkinja потомкиња female descendant
potomak потомак male descendant
čukununuka, šukununuka[C] чукунунука great-great-granddaughter
čukununuk, šukununuk[C] чукунунук great-great-grandson
praunuka праунука great-granddaughter, descendant
praunuk праунук great-grandson, descendant
unuka унука granddaughter
unuk унук grandson
(k)ćer(ka), kći[C] (k)ћер(ка) daughter
sin син son
majka, mati мајка, мати mother
otac отац father
baba, baka баба, бака grandmother
d(j)ed(a), deka, đed,[S] dida[C] д(ј)ед(a), дека, ђед[S] grandfather
prababa, prabaka прабаба great-grandmother, ancestor
prad(j)ed(a), prađed[S] прад(ј)ед(a), прађед[S] great-grandfather, ancestor
čukunbaba, šukunbaka[C] чукунбаба great-great-grandmother
čukund(j)ed(a), čukunđed,[S] šukundjed[C] чукунд(ј)ед(a), чукунђед[S] great-great-grandfather[3]
pretkinja преткиња female ancestor
predak предак male ancestor

Ego's generation

Diminutive forms of siblings are used for cousins.

Latin Cyrillic English translation
brat брат brother
sestra сестра sister
bratić[C] братић male first cousin
sestrična[C] сестрична female first cousin
rođak рођак male cousin, relative
rođaka, rođakinja, rodica рођака, рођакиња, родица female cousin, relative

Indirect ancestry, descendants and legal relations

There are separate terms for maternal and paternal uncles, but not for aunts. In addition, spouses of uncles and aunts have their own terms.

Latin Cyrillic Relation
stric стриц paternal uncle
strina стрина paternal uncle's wife
ujak ујак maternal uncle
ujna ујна maternal uncle's wife; sometimes maternal aunt
tetka тетка aunt (only mother's or father's sister or cousin)
tetak (teča) тетак (теча) aunt's husband (where aunt defined as "tetka")
bratanac братанац fraternal nephew (for women)
sinovac синовац fraternal nephew (for men)
bratanica братаница fraternal niece
nećak (Dalmatian-Croatian) нећак nephew
nećaka, nećakinja (Dalmatian-Croatian нећака, нећакиња niece
sestrić сестрић sororal nephew
sestričina сестричина sororal niece


There are separate terms for a man's and a woman's parents-in-law. However, the same terms are commonly used for siblings-in-law and children-in-law. There are separate terms for co-siblings-in-law.[what about co-parent-in-law? co-grandparent?]

Latin Cyrillic Relation English translation
svekar свекар husband's father father-in-law
svekrva свекрва husband's mother mother-in-law
punac, tast[S] пунац, таст[S] wife's father father-in-law
punica, tašta[S] пуница, ташта[S] wife's mother mother-in-law
zet зет daughter's or sister's husband son-in-law or brother-in-law
nevjesta,[C] snaha,[S] snaja[S] нев(ј)еста,снаха, снаjа son's or brother's wife daughter-in-law or sister-in-law
šurak, šurjak, šogor[C] шурак, шурjак wife's brother brother-in-law
šurnjaja, šurjakinja шурњаја, шурјакиња wife's brother's wife sister-in-law
svastika, šogorica[C] свастика wife's sister sister-in-law
svastić свастић wife's sister's son nephew-in-law
svastičina свастичина wife's sister's daughter niece-in-law
djever, dever девер, дjевер husband's brother brother-in-law
zaova заова husband's sister sister-in-law
pašenog, pašanac, badžanac[C] пашеног, пашанац, баџа wife's sister's husband co-brother-in-law
jetrva јетрва husband's brother's wife co-sister-in-law


Latin Cyrillic Relation
očuh очух stepfather
maćeha маћеха stepmother
pastorak пасторак stepson
pastorka, pastorkinja пасторка, пасторкиња stepdaughter
polusestra полусестра stepsister
polubrat полубрат stepbrother


Foster relations are important and have dedicated terms.

Latin Cyrillic Relation
usvojenik усвојеник adopted son
usvojenica усвојеница adopted daughter
poočim поочим foster-father
pomajka помајка foster-mother
posinak, usinjenik[S] посинак, усињеник[S] foster-son
po(k)ćerka по(к)ћерка foster-daughter


  1. ^ These are, with feminine -a or -ka in parentheses, generation 6 kurđel(a), 7 askurđel(a), 8 kurđup(a), 9 kurlebalo/a, 10 sukurdol(a), 11 sudepač(a), 12 parđupan(a), 13 ožmikur(k)a, 14 kurajber(a), 15 sajkatav(k)a, 16 (m) b(ij)eli orao (f) b(ij)ela orlica.


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