What is your cousin’s cousin?

Many of us have probably heard the phrase, “My cousin’s cousin is my…” but what does it actually mean? Understanding the familial connection between family members can be confusing and complicated, especially when dealing with a great-grandparent or a distant relative. Let’s take a closer look at how blood relatives are connected to one another.

Although some people may label a cousin’s cousin as a distant cousin, it is more accurate to term them as a cousin-in-law. It is essential to remember that while cousins can be relatives, if they are not united by blood, then the in-law designation avoids any confusion.

What Is a Cousin?

The most basic familial relationship is that of two siblings—brothers or sisters—who share both parents. The next familial relationship is that of cousins, which occurs when two people share either one grandparent or two great-grandparents. This means that first cousins are related through one set of grandparents, while second cousins are related through two sets of great-grandparents. It gets more complicated from there!

Your Cousin’s Cousin

When someone refers to their “cousin’s cousin” they are referring to their second cousin once removed (2C1R). That means that they and their second cousin share the same great-grandparents, but they do not share any other parents or grandparents. They also have different parents so they would not be considered first cousins either. In this case, the “once removed” part refers to the fact that there is an extra generation between them and their shared ancestor (their great-grandparent).

For example, if your mother’s brother is your uncle and his daughter (your first cousin) has a child (your first cousin once removed), then that child’s child would be your second cousin once removed. This person would be your “cousin’s cousin”!

How Far Can You Go?

The connections between family members can get even more complicated as you keep going up in generations! For example, your third cousins are related through four sets of great-great grandparents; fourth cousins are related through five sets; and so on. The further back you go, the more distant the connection becomes—but no matter how far apart you may be genetically speaking, it’s always important to remember the connection that exists within families!


At the end of the day, understanding our relatives’ relationships can sometimes be quite tricky! But with just a little bit of knowledge about how family members connect with each other across generations, anyone can become an expert in no time! Although some may refer to it as their “cousin’s cousin” – understanding exactly who this person is in relation to you helps solidify your own place in the family tree. It also helps make our families feel closer together by recognizing all of our shared ancestors!