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Honorary Uncle

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"Now, I need to say that he's not actually my uncle. For us Italians, anyone who's allowed to take off his belt and hit you with it you have to call uncle."
Santo Cilauro, The Late Show (Australia)

Your parents' True Companions are your uncles -- unless they're your aunts -- without any blood connection -- not even second cousins three times removed or any such relationship simplified to uncle or aunt. Conversely, if you're very young, your True Companions' uncles and aunts are likely to be yours as well, through contagion, and their parents may be uncle and aunt to you.

Compare Oba-san. This trope is used only in the context of a stronger relationship; as a rule, it would not be surprising to discover that an Honorary Uncle was named as the guardian, if something happened to the parents.

A very much Asian trope, as most East Asians and Southeast Asians call any elder stranger "Uncle" or "Aunt" as a sign of respect. This extends to family friends and close acquaintances, even without blood relation. This article on The Other Wiki about Fictive Kinship can help.

In a Babies Ever After ending, the unmatched characters may fall into this role, so they have a place in the Happy Ending.

Examples of Honorary Uncle include:


Anime and Manga Edit

  • The girls of Minami-ke have a relative, Takeru, whom they call oji-san ("uncle" in this context). At one point they realize they've forgotten what his actual relation to them is, so Haruka calls someone else in the family to ask; turns out Takeru is technically their cousin. But he's a good ten years older than any of them, and he takes his surrogate-uncle role seriously. At one point we see him grilling the unfortunate Fujioka about his interest in Kana.
  • In Dragonball Z, Goten sometimes addresses Vegeta as "ojisan" (either "uncle" or "mister," depending on context) despite there being no blood between them. This is likely due to his being best friends with Trunks and the fact that Vegeta was probably the only prominent adult male figure in Goten's early life. This was not maintained in the American dub, however.
    • Also, Gohan to Krillin who is one of his father's closest friends. He even calls him "uncle" at least once.
  • In Fruits Basket, Kisa, who is 12 years old when she first appears, calls Hatori, Ayame, and Shigure Sohma "Grandpa" (in the English sub of the anime) or "Oji-chan" (in the English sub of the manga), despite their being only 15 years older than she is.
  • Joseph Joestar from Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure calls his deceased Grandfather's best friend "Uncle" Speedwagon, considering him just as much a part of his family as his Grandmother.
  • Hayate Yagami refers to Gil Graham, a friend of her father(his cover story while using her in his plan to fill and then seal the Book Of Darkness) who supports her, as "Graham-oji-san".
  • In X 1999, Kamui calls his best friend's father "uncle." This led to some confusion among fans as to whether Kamui and Fuuma were cousins (they're not).
  • Extremely Squicky example in Kare Kano: Asaba becomes so much this trope from even before the kids are born that Yukino teases Soichiro that he's almost like a second husband and father. The Squick comes in when it's revealed that their daughter Sakura is his "soul mate".
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed and Al refer to the Doctors Rockbell as "Aunt and Uncle Rockbell." We really hope that they're not really his aunt and uncle because of Ed/Winry being pretty much canon.
    • They aren't. Good thing too because come the end of the manga, Ed/Winry IS canon.
  • In Saiyuki, in one of Hakkai's versions of the future he mentions Gojyo will be his children's uncle.

Comic Books Edit

  • In The Fantastic Four, Franklin and Valeria Richards, Reed and Sue's children, call Ben "Uncle Ben"; Ben is even Franklin's godfather (and Frank's middle name, Benjamin, was given in honor of Ben, Reed's best friend since college). Spider-Man has also become one of these over the years, thanks to being more and more ingrained in the family. The way he's taken over Johnny's spot recently has been compared to an uncle moving in to look after everyone following a death in the family.
    • The FF has always been just as much a family as a team, so this makes sense.
  • In Italian Scrooge McDuck comics, Scrooge's New Old Flame Glittering Goldie has a granddaughter who jokingly calls him "granddad." A-hem...
  • Splinter, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mirage, is Shadow Jones' Honorary Uncle, a title he shares with retired superhero "Stainless" Steve Steel.
    • Shadow also collectively refers to the turtles as her uncles.
  • Arsenal's daughter Lian of Teen Titans refers to all the other Titans as either "Aunt ____" or "Uncle ____".
  • In the newspaper comic Cathy, Cathy's friend Andrea encouraged her daughter Zenith to call Cathy "Aunt Cathy" -- and when Cathy's mother came to visit, she was declared "Aunt Grandma."
  • Tron: Ghost in the Machine (follow up to Tron 2.0, Alternate Continuity to Tron: Legacy), Jet Bradley refers to "Uncle Kevin's" trip into cyberspace. An in-game email says that Kevin is Jet's godfather.

Fairy Tales Edit

  • In The Three Aunts, the women agree to help the heroine in return for this.

 "Well never mind, child," said the old woman, "If you'll call me Aunt on the happiest day of your life, I'll spin this flax for you, and so you may just go away and lie down to sleep."

 She complained of her trouble, and then they offered her their help and said, "If thou wilt invite us to the wedding, not be ashamed of us, and wilt call us thine aunts, and likewise wilt place us at thy table, we will spin up the flax for thee, and that in a very short time."


Fan Fiction Edit

  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon and his sister consider Keiichi, Rika, Rena, Mion, Shion, Satoko and Satoshi as their aunts/uncles, despite only being related to the former two.
  • Pops up a lot in {{CSI NY}} fics involving the Danny/Lindsay pairing and their daughter Lucy. There's a lot of Lucy and "Uncle Don" and "Uncle Mac" and "Aunt Stella" and sometimes others like Sheldon or Sid get into it as well. Prime example: CTI-Jenn's "Wrong Place, Wrong Time" and "Begin Again" duo. (can be accessed through author page at the same link.)
  • In Windfall, Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity are all referred to as the aunts of Fluttershy and Big Macintosh's foal.


Film Edit

  • In The Sound of Music, the seven Von Trapp children call Max "Uncle Max" even though he's just a family friend.
  • The movie On Our Own is about a group of orphaned children trying to make it to their Uncle's house. It's revealed later in the movie that he isn't actually their uncle, but a family friend--which complicates their quest in finding someone to take care of them.
  • The film Spy Kids features Uncle Felix, who is really a bodyguard assigned to the family. Subverted in the sense that before he reveals the secret life of their parents as spies, the kids really thought he was their blood uncle.
  • "Old Wen" from Eat Drink Man Woman is an Honorary Uncle to Chu's three daughters, to the point of being visibly shocked upon hearing of his death.
  • "Uncle Bob?"
  • In Finding Neverland, the Llewelyn Davies boys call James Barrie "Uncle James" and "Uncle Jim" after he befriends them and their mother. Given James' personality, though, he's more of an honorary big brother.
  • Donna's best friends are Auntie Tanya and Auntie Rosie to her daughter Sophie in Mamma Mia
  • In the film version of The Who's Tommy, the mother's second husband asks Tommy to call him Uncle Frank. Whether or not he considers him as such (Tommy is mute through most of his life) is another matter.
  • Uncle Tadpole in Bran Nue Dae, although subverted at the end, when it turns out he is Willy's father, much to everybody's surprise except Willy's Mum
  • Aunt Maggie from Childs Play wasn't really Andy's aunt. She was a close friend and co-worker to his mom.


Literature Edit

  • In the Star Wars Novels, both the Skywalker and Solo kids refer to Lando Calrissian as "Uncle Lando"
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books, Miles called Simon Illyan "Uncle Simon" until he entered the military. Cordelia is also viewed as an honorary aunt to the Koudelka sisters.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40000 Gaunt's Ghosts novel First & Only, his father's commander featured as his "Uncle Dercius".
  • The Importance of Being Earnest : Cecily addresses her guardian Jack as her uncle 'from motives of respect that you could not possibly appreciate'.
  • In Jo Walton's Half a Crown, Elvira refers to her adoptive father as "Uncle Carmichael".
  • A Mind Screw version in Dragaera. Devera calls Vlad "Uncle Vlad". The thing is, Devera is the not-yet-born daughter of Vlad's Dragaeran friend Aliera, and the father is Aliera's long-dead ancestor Kieron. As Vlad is the reincarnation of Kieron's brother (and Aliera is the reincarnation of their sister), he might be Devera's literal uncle as well.
    • Devera also refers to Aliera's cousin as "Uncle 'Rollan," which probably qualifies as honorary. Well, unless it's because Morrolan, by pledging his soul to Verra, almost qualifies as Aliera's stepfather as well--Verra calls him "beloved," after all. Like we said--Mind Screw.
  • In L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, Marilla has Anne call her "Marilla" and not "Aunt Marilla". However, later, when Anne has children, she's "Aunt Marilla" to them.
    • In fact, many extended families in Montgomery's stories are like this - just ask the Murrys of New Moon or the Leslies of Cloud of Spruce. No matter what your relationship to a member of the older generation, they are "Aunt" or "Uncle." Special cases, however, merit "Cousin" no matter what the age of the person - such as Cousin Jimmy, who "isn't all there."
  • At the end of John Barnes's One for the Morning Glory, Sir John is explicitly described as acting as a honorary uncle to Amatus and Calliope's children.
  • In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murray gives one of the faceless tentacled aliens from planet Ixchel the nickname "Aunt Beast".
  • In Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night, Saint George solicits permission to call Harriet Vane "Aunt Harriet" because she knows too many of his secrets. He doesn't get it. (And then she becomes his real aunt.)
  • In Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe, Aly calls all the main characters of the first two Tortall quartets "Aunt" and "Uncle" (except, obviously, for her the ones who are her parents, and Daine's animals.)
  • In the Belgariad, Garion always called Polgara "Aunt Pol" growing up. Technically, she's his infinite-great-aunt, but it still applies. He still does in informal situations in the Mallorean; Ce'Nedra (his wife) uses the name for her at one point near the end, a sign of how their relationship has changed. In turn, Polgara refers to the sorcerer Beldin (who helped raise her) as "Uncle Beldin" - when she isn't flinging (well-returned) insults at him.
    • In one of the prequels, Polgara comments that most little boys she meets call her "Aunt Pol". Granted, a good number of them are her great-nephews (Garion's ancestors).
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs uses this one in his Literary Agent Hypothesis for John Carter of Mars, recounting his first meeting:

 I was then a child of but five years, yet I well remember the tall, dark, smooth-faced, athletic man whom I called Uncle Jack.

  • In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novel Dead Beat, when Harry insists on speaking to Luccio alone, Ramirez tells the other young Wardens, "We have to go sit with Uncle Morgan while the other adults have a serious talk."
    • A straighter example would be Harry to Michael's kids.
    • Which is kind of creepy considering Molly's one-sided crush on him...
  • In CS Lewis's The Last Battle: Eustace reveals that all the younger Friends of Narnia call the elderly Polly Plummer "Aunt Polly." Professor Digory Kirke is always "The Professor," though.
  • In Isaac Asimov's Lucky Starr series, after his parents' death, Lucky was raised by his father's two best friends, "Uncle Gus" and "Uncle Hector." It's mentioned that as a child he sometimes got confused and called his father Uncle Lawrence, too.
  • Aunt Bertha in The Great Brain books is an unrelated widow who lives with the Fitzgeralds.
  • Although Esmerelda Weatherwax is often called "Granny Weatherwax", there's something more significant about Tiffany Aching being told she can refer to her by that title in A Hat Full of Sky (especially since one of the themes of The Wee Free Men was the loss of Granny Aching). Not that having Esme as an Honorary Grandmother is easy...
  • In the Miss Marple story "The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side", Inspector Craddock starts calling Miss Marple "Aunt Jane" -- which he doesn't in any of the other books he's in.
  • Sidney Carton becomes one of these to Charles and Lucie's children in A Tale of Two Cities
  • Bridget Jones's Uncle Geoffrey is actually a close friend of her parents'.
  • In the Teenage Worrier series, Letty mentions that some divorced parents ask their children to call the parent's new partner "Aunt" or "Uncle."
  • In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, narrator/protagonist Lily hears her soul mate, the titular Snow Flower, addressing their chaperone the matchmaker informally as "Auntie", assumes this trope is the case, and imitates the form of address to beg for sweets. In a later chapter, Snow Flower admits that the matchmaker really is her aunt.
  • In Angie Sage's Septimus Heap books, Aunt Zelda is not only an aunt to all the Heap boys, and Jenna, who was raised as her niece, but to Wolf Boy as well.
  • In PG Wodehouse's Thank You, Jeeves, Bertie admits that he's always regarded Jeeves less as a valet and more as "a sort of uncle".
  • In Michael Flynn's Up Jim River, Zorba is the harper's honorary uncle. The Fudir finds this small comfort in view of the Living Legend status of the man.


Live Action TV Edit

  • In Heroes Fanon, it is generally accepted that Claire knew Claude, her father's old partner, as "Uncle Claude". This was also mentioned on the commentary for the episode "Company Man".
  • Arrested Development had Uncle Jack "and remember, he's not really their uncle!"
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Future Ted regularly refers to the other characters as Aunt Robin, Uncle Barney, Uncle Marshall, and Aunt Lily when talking to his kids. This regularly prompts fans to declare that they've worked out who the mother is - it must be Robin's/Barney's/Marshall's/Lily's sister!
    • And some people think it will be one of their siblings specifically to mess with the audience's assumption of Honorary Uncle.
    • In fact, since the reveal of Barney's father, fans have been introduced to a little brother and told of a college age sister not yet introduced. Ted also states that his wife was in an economics class on his first day teaching at a college and that he met her at Barney's wedding. This prompts fans to speculate Barney being an actual Uncle Barney.
  • There's a episode of The Golden Girls in which Dorothy's goddaughter is getting married. She calls her "Aunt Dorothy". Fine. Then Blanche appears and the young woman calls her "Aunt Blanche". Despite us never having the slightest notion that Blanche even knows her.
  • The son of a murder victim on Law and Order Special Victims Unit called his mom's best friend Aunt Gina. She shortly turned up murdered, too.
  • Referenced in Shane's graduation speech in Weeds where one of the groups he named in the introduction was "...people we call aunts and uncles but really aren't..."
  • Supernatural: Bobby Singer is definitely Sam and Dean's honorary uncle, considering that he's been a better father figure to them (especially Dean) than their own father ever was. He's also the one who told Dean (in the Season 3 finale): "Family don't end with blood, boy."
  • Joey from Full House. The daughters of his best friend only call him "Uncle Joey" a few times in early episodes, but their relationship with him is always like this trope.
  • Early seasons of Saturday Night Live had Buck Henry as Uncle Roy, who gets ... a little too friendly while babysitting for his "nieces" (he is a friend of their mother.)
  • Power Rangers Samurai: Bulk (yes, Bulk) to Skull's son Spike.
  • In Frasier, Roz refers to the Cranes as "Uncle Frasier", "Uncle Niles", and "Aunt Daphne" when talking to her daughter Alice.
  • In Red Dwarf, Rimmer seems to think he'll be this after Lister gets pregnant in an alternate universe.
  • In The Sopranos, the mob guys are all honorary uncles towards their associates' respective children.


Music Edit

  • In The Who's Tommy, we have Uncle Ernie, who is likely Tommy's uncle (or uncle-in-law in The Movie version, according to Pete Townshend). He becomes honorary later on, however, when he apparently becomes a counselor at Tommy's Holiday Camp, he refers to himself as Uncle Ernie to a group of people who are most likely children.

Tabletop Games Edit

Webcomics Edit


Web Original Edit

  • PPC agents who rescue child bit-characters and place them in the Nursery (specifically set up to take care of such children) often become honorary Aunts and Uncles. One good example is Oscar Henson, one half of the Department of M Preg, whose job is to rescue the unnaturally existing M Preg-created babies, and was in fact warned by his mentor Trojanhorse that he was likely to end up "Uncle Oscar" to an increasing proportion of the Nursery's inhabitants over time. In general, agents become parents (or aunts/uncles for that matter) by adoption more frequently than by blood.

Western Animation Edit

  • Danny Phantom. Vlad Masters somewhat ironically insists on being called Uncle Vlad by his best friends' (one of which he hates and is constantly trying to kill, the other he has a stalkery crush on) children (again, one of which he hates and is constantly trying to kill when he isn't trying to make him his apprentice ).
  • DuckTales: Scrooge McDuck tells Webby - the granddaughter of his grand-nephews' nanny - to call him Uncle Scrooge.
  • Sat AM Sonic the Hedgehog: Tagalong Kid Tails calls Sally "Aunt Sally."
  • Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures may be this. Apparently neither Jackie nor Jade's family knows whom he's actually related to, if anyone at all!

Video Games Edit


Real Life Edit

  • In Chinese, Sri-Lankan and Indian culture, any man of the generation over you is to be addressed as "Uncle", any woman as "Auntie". With people you know, it turns into a suffix, e.g. "Ramesh-uncle", "Sujala-auntie".
  • In Greek culture, it is a generally accepted practice to call informal acquaintances (older than you) "Theo Soforth" or "Thia Whatshername". "Theo" and "Thia" ("Uncle" and "Aunt", respectively) can also be used alone.
  • In Arab culture, male family friends are generally called `Amo (paternal uncle) and female family friends Khalah (maternal aunt), since Arabic has no word for "aunt" or "uncle" in general. In addition, in Lebanon (or at least in Beirut, or perhaps at least among Sunnis from Beirut...) it is customary for parents, aunts, and uncles to refer to the younger people by their relationship: thus a mother might refer to her daughter as "mama" and a (paternal) uncle might call his nephew "`amo." This is extended for in some families to Honorary Nieces and Nephews.
  • Even if culture does not demand it, family friends of your parent's generation regularly come to be called "Uncle" or "Auntie", if only because it's easier to teach a child two words than a plethora of names.
    • Chilean writer Isabel Allende has told in all of her biographies that she calls her step-father Uncle, but that is part the long tradition of calling Uncle/Aunt to every adult the age of one's parents regardless of filial relationship, part the fact that he and her mother weren't legally married (long story). Similarly, Salvador Allende was actually her (natural) father's cousin and thus actually "Uncle Salvador."
  • Godmothers and godfathers are usually referred to as Aunt or Uncle by their godchild and other children in the family.
  • In Phillipine family culture, anybody - be it cousins, family friends, strangers - who is older than you (especially someone from an older generation) is automatically designated 'Aunty' or 'Uncle'. 'Ate' (older sister) or 'Kuya' (older brother) if the age gap is much smaller. Children are occasionally surprised to learn that these people are not, in fact, blood relatives.
  • In many indigenous cultures, the term used for a father's friend is also "father". But in this case, it's also used for the father's brother.
  • It used to be common in the Netherlands, but lately the sense of formal speech in general is considered old-fashioned and elitistic, and thus family-related titles like, uncle, aunt, mom, dad, grandpa, etc. are considered old fashioned as well.
  • Semi-subversion: in Spain, tío and tía (uncle and aunt, respectively) are colloquial terms for man and woman e.g. Una tía buena= A real knockout. Older Spaniards tend to object to being called tío for the same reason middle age Americans reject "Dude"
  • This was apparently the case with Walt Disney himself to the original stars of The Mickey Mouse Club.
  • In the Christadelphian church (which translates as Brothers in Christ), it is a tradition that children of the members refer to everyone in the church as 'aunt' and 'uncle', since they are all brothers and sisters of their parents.
  • In one of his Evening With DVDs, Kevin Smith says that his hetero-life mate Jason Mewes is referred to by Kevin's daughter Harley as "Uncle Jay".
  • In Russia, it is perfectly normal for a kid to address an adult who is not his parent as a dyadya (uncle) or a tyotya (aunt).
  • Common in Vietnamese cultures as well, where once again, anyone a generation above you can and often is addressed as "uncle" and "aunt". (Vietnamese even has several words for uncle and aunt that are used for the person's age relative to your mother and father, and are used accordingly).

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