Saturday, 9 November 2013

Brother - Fraternal Youth

Blood brothers
Photo by Luc de Leeuw


Noun & adjective. Plural brothers, (chiefly in senses 2b & 3) brethren.
[Old English broþor = Old Frisian brother, broder, Old Saxon broþar, Middle & modern Dutch broeder, Middle & modern Low German broder,
Old High German bruodar (German Bruder), Old Norse broðir, Gothic broþar, from Germanic from Indo-European,
whence Latin frater, Greek phrater, Sanskrit bhratr.]

A1(a) noun. A male related to one or more other persons (male or female)
by having the same parents or by having one parent in common. OE

A1(b) noun. Chiefly in biblical translation (a Hebraism): a kinsman, as uncle, nephew, or cousin. ME

Note on A2
(With possible inclusion of a minority of females in plural, and if not considered significant.
Also used before a name and as a form of address or reference).

A2(a) A man who is a close friend; a (male) fellow citizen or fellow countryman;
an associate, an equal; a person of the same race, colour, or class; a fellow creature. OE

A2(b) A (male) fellow Christian, a co-religionist, a (male) fellow member of a religious society or sect.
In plural (Brethren) specifically members of the Plymouth Brethren. OE

A2(c) ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. A member of a men's religious congregation or order. ME

A2(d) A (male) fellow member of a guild, trader union, society, regiment, profession, etc.;
an official of certain companies etc. LME

A2(e) Used as a familiar form of address to a man.
Also as interjection expressing surprise, annoyance, etc. Chiefly North American. E20

A3 figurative. An identical or similar thing, a counterpart. LME

B attributive or as adjective. (Frequently with hyphen.) That is a brother;
belonging to the same group; close as a brother; fellow-. LME

Big brother, Little brother
Me (right) with one of my brothers in Ireland - the one brother that never did anything nasty to me
Brothers, being boys, get a lot of hard press: they're smelly, they're rough, they're bullies and they're malicious. Well, being a brother, and having many brothers (and the requisite sisters for comparison), I feel in a good position to comment. It's true, they (we) can be all of the above - as the youngest until I was 10, my older brothers would regularly pin me down and spit in my mouth, or stuff dirty socks into it, or give me dead legs and arms (not to mention being shot with an air rifle several times, and having a dart thrown through my foot). Once, when he was supposed to be babysitting me, one brother instead tied me to a drainpipe in the garden and went into town with his mates. Another brother terrified me by hiding and letting me find him behind the couch with a knife next to him, ketchup smeared on the blade and his throat as if he had been brutally murdered. Yes, as the youngest I experienced the full gamut of brotherly nastiness. But while all of the funny(ish) horror stories are attention grabbing and make good after-dinner anecdotes, it certainly isn't my full brotherly experience, for it says nothing of the times when they did look after me (without rope or ketchup), of when they played with me or taught me things or tolerated me when I was no doubt irritating them. On balance, I wouldn't change anything - my childhood was fun and lively, exciting and a constant adventure. My brothers, with all of their idiosyncratic ways, were an enormous part of that childhood, and as different as we all are - in our beliefs, personalities, politics and habits - it's a real pleasure to me that we're all still close in adulthood, and the love for each other and for all in our family, a love forged in childhood, is as strong as ever. Thanks for a fun childhood guys! I love you all very much.

In Ireland, with my three older brothers and one of my sisters - I think it's pretty clear who's the cutest
 Do you have any brotherly stories?

Do you have a friend that you've come to think of as a brother?

Do please leave your most fraternal comments below.


  1. Nice post Ed. I had no idea you were related to Superman. And how have you gone your whole life with the same haircut?

    1. My haircut has never, ever, ever, ever changed. I think it's what's called that timeless look. Either you've got it or ... y'know ...

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