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Niblings: The Gender Neutral Word Social Media Is Trying To Make Happen

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June 07, 2021

We are currently living in a world where pronouns are incredibly important. People identify as a different gender to what they were born as, people are non-binary, and some people are happy to keep the pronouns that they were born with. 

However, as the world becomes more conscious of pronouns and the pronouns that most people are comfortable being called, it is becoming increasingly obvious that many terms are centered around gender

One of these terms is what you call your siblings’ children, besides their own names, of course. 

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What Is A Nibling? 

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Worldwide, people have been attempting to find gender-neutral terms for terms that we use each day heavily gendered. Things like mother and father have been questioned multiple times and so have things like nieces and nephews. 

Recently, the word nibling has been being used more frequently to refer to the children of one’s siblings in place of the usual niece and nephew labels. This allows for you to refer to your sibling’s children by a gender-neutral term. 

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Doing this means that you will refer to these children without them feeling as though they are being referred to by the incorrect pronoun. Similar to they/them pronouns, niblings allow for the person to live as non-binary. 

Teaching children to refer to themselves in this way gives them a healthy way to learn about pronouns in every aspect of their lives and ensures that they feel comfortable with what they are being called. 

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You can, of course, refer to a child as your niece or nephew if they are happy with those pronouns being used to refer to them. However, it is also an easy way to refer to multiple children of different genders, which the niece and nephew phrases do not do. 

Where Did It Come From? 

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It might seem to you like this term has arisen straight out of the blue. Who had ever heard the word nibling before six months ago? It is becoming an increasingly popular term, but you should not think it has come about because of pop culture. 

The term nibling has been around for much longer than the last six months and was coined in the 1950s by a Far Easter linguistics professor named Samuel E. Martin. However, it remained mostly unused for the past couple of decades. 

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The word has not officially been added to any dictionaries, but it looks like it is on the fast track to being a term we use in everyday life.

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