Wait, what even IS the female version of avuncular?


Avuncular basically means ‘like an uncle’, and if it was a job you’d do it for free. Being an uncle is just being an uncle (no offence, all you uncles), but being avuncular is a whole other level.

Being avuncular means you get to:

  • Lounge comfortably
  • Smoke a pipe (optional)
  • Rock a suit (not optional)
  • Insist that any child over the age of four gambles using real money. Be affronted if anyone suggests otherwise
  • Say whatever you like, safe in the knowledge that all present will gamely laugh (bar the butler, who is contractually obliged to lift an eyebrow)
  • Fondly ruffle a small urchin’s head (gloves optional)
  • Be jolly and a bit unpredictable (‘avuncular’ means you’d be given at least a second glance in any Doctor Who casting campaigns)
  • Be invited to all the things
  • Not be required to stay deathly-boringly long at any of the things, in fact, quite often subtly dissuaded from doing so
  • Spend a lot of time jet-setting in Monaco, probably
  • Walk away the minute there’s any hassle. You don’t do hassle. That’s not for you.

Being avuncular is  a respectable life goal, but it’s also just so, so, so, so, so… uncle-y.

It cannot be avoided. As things stand, being avuncular is a thing that is mainly considered the province of men, by the very quality of its wordiness (it stems from words for ‘maternal uncle’ and also ‘grandfather’, which isn’t really giving aunts a look-in).

How, then, may we traditionally refer to the stalwart women who want to revolutionise the minds of their neices and nephews then retreat to the safety of gin-sozzled strip-rummy in Monaco?

  • Auntly
  • Auntlike
  • Materteral


Not feeling very materteral today

OH, HELLO, MATERTERAL. WHAT EVEN IS THAT? Only Dame Maggie Smith could throw down ‘materteral’ like it stands for good times and make that shit stick. And yes, that is a challenge.

Our options?

  1. Make ‘materteral’ a thing
  2. Claim ‘avuncular’

There are, no doubt, several ways to deal with this issue. Perhaps the important thing is that we can always feel safe in envisaging for ourselves a future where suits may be worn with aplomb, children may be induced to gamble with real money, and Monaco may be forever be considered a haven to which one can retreat.