© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Now here’s a pair of words that frequently get misused – they are not proper synonyms.

Did you know that in historical terms, 80% of marriages worldwide were to second, or even first, cousins. These days the figure is down to about 10%, and marriages with first cousins are outside so-called ‘Christian societies’.  A more in-depth look at marriage can be found HERE.

Relatives are people that you are related to, either by bloodline or marriage etc. Close relatives is a slightly subjective term, but usually means, for example, one’s siblings (brothers and sisters), their children, your own children, and your own parents and grandparents. Those who have married into or joined the family, for example your own spouse (wife, husband, partner – whatever), are not really close relatives as they are not related by blood. You can’t enter into a sexual partnership with a close relative, as the risks of producing a deformed child are too great. As regards this latter point, how close is close can depend on different cultures and laws, and these vary greatly from one country to another. Examples:
Only close relatives were invited to the funeral.
She invited all of her friends and relatives to her wedding.
Jurors cannot be related to the accused.

Relations, although often used to refer to one’s relatives, is a word better applied to how people get on with each other in some kind of relationship. We can talk about diplomatic relations between countries, sexual relations between lovers, customer relations between a company and its clients etc. Examples:
Diplomatic relations between North and South Korea have reached an all-time low, and war is a possibility.
A member of the jury had to step down as they had had a sexual relationship with the accused.
Customer relations is one of the most important areas for competitive business.