A cousin is a relative with whom a person shares one or more common ancestors. In the general sense, cousins are two or more generations away from any common ancestor, thus distinguishing a cousin from an ancestor, descendant, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. However in common parlance "cousins" typically refers to "first cousins", individuals who share a grandparent.
Systems of "degrees" and "removals" are used in the English-speaking world to describe the exact relationship between two cousins (in the broad sense) and the ancestor they have in common. Various governmental entities have established systems for legal use that can precisely specify kinships with common ancestors existing any number of generations in the past, though common usage often eliminates the degrees and removals and refers to people with common ancestry as simply "distant cousins" or "relatives".
People are related with a type of cousin relationship if they share a common ancestor, neither person is directly descended from the other, and they are not is a siblings with each other or the common ancestor. The cousin relationship is further segmented by degree and degree of removal. For example the second cousin once removed relationship is a second degree cousin with one degree of removal.
A person shares a first cousin or cousin relationship with the children of their parents siblings. Cousins share least one set of grandparents. In the example to the right Joseph and Julie are first cousins.
A person shares a second cousin relationship with the children of their parents cousins. Second cousins share at least one set of great-grandparents. In the example to the right Gordon and Matt are second cousins.
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