Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Avunculus Definition:

Latin: a mother's brother.

avunculusRoman law developed and maintained complex rules for the passage of an estate, including priorities for step-children.

For this, within a legal system that favoured male lineage, it was necessary to distinguish between relatives on the father's side and those on the mother's side.

Each possible participant in a decedent's family tree was assigned a distinct name for the purposes of the hierarchy of estate distribution.

William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 2, page 230:

"... avunculus or mother's brother."

Henry de Bracton's Legibus also referred to avunculus.

Avuncular refers to an uncle.

The relationship of a mother's sister to an individual is known as matertera.

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