The Law Dictionary

Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.

What is COUSIN

Kindred in the fourth degree, being the issue (male or female) of the brother or sister of one’s father or mother. Those who descend from the brother or sister of the father of the person spoken of are called “paternal cousins;” “maternal cousins” are those who are descended from the brothers or sisters of the mother. Cous- ins-german are first cousins. Sanderson v. Bayley, 4 Myl. & C. 59. In English writs, commissions, and other formal instruments issued by the crown, the word signifies any peer of the degree of an earl. The appellation is as ancient as the reign of Ilenry IV., who, being related or allied to every earl then in the kingdom, acknowledged that conncction in all his letters and public acts; from which the use has descended to his successors, though the reason has long ago failed. Mozley & Whitley.

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