What Is a Second Cousin or a Cousin Once Removed?

What is a second cousin

It’s that point of the year where we spend a lot of time thinking about family. The good things. The other things you're going to try hard to ignore for an afternoon at the dining room table. The people you forget exist until the holidays. 

Many will get together with parents and siblings over Thanksgiving, along with aunts, uncles, and, uh, who is that? He's your... um... let's go with Uncle Steve. And her? Let's just call her a cousin

The terminology can get confusing, but the basics are, in fact, comprehensible. 

What Is a Second Cousin?

Your second cousin is the child of your parent's first cousin. Inside the family tree, they're in the same generation as you, and your nearest common ancestor is a great-grandparent.

This chart shared on Imgur helps to bring it into focus. You start in the red square. (And yes, it appears to be grand-aunt and grand-uncle instead of great-aunt and great-uncle.)

What Is a First Cousin Once Removed?

When you start adding in "removed" it feels like it's going to get messy, and it can as you start climbing around the family tree, but the fundamentals are pretty straightforward. Your first cousin once removed can mean two different things. It is the child of your first cousin and it is also the first cousin of your parents. 

With regard to the child of your first cousin, you begin adding removes as you move down the family tree. Your first cousin's child is your first cousin once removed. Your first cousin's grandchild is your first cousin twice removed. 

As you can see in the chart, that's not the only way those terms occur, but once you get a feel for how those naming conventions work, it gets a little easier to figure out scenarios that maybe don't come up as often, like the great-grandchild of your second cousin.

Now, go to a family gathering and drop some knowledge very casually, like it's not confusing at all.

h/t Flowing Data | Metro

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.