Was there really no word for "cousin"?

I have heard several times that reference to the scripture where Jesus is told his mother and brothers are waiting for him is not English translated well because there was no Aramaic word for cousin. Non Catholic denominations use this passage to “prove” that Mary had other children who were siblings of Jesus.

I accept that Jesus is the only son of Mary in wholehearted faith but if I am asked how is it that Elizabeth is referred to as the “cousin” of Mary and John the Baptist is the “cousin” of Jesus–that is using the cousin relationship word that I’ve been told does not exist.

Is there a word cousin or not since it appears in one place and not the other?

Kindly explain so I may explain to others.

Thank you so much.


The following link should answer your question about the word “cousin” in Scripture. If you have any further questions, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

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Brethren of the Lord

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