I have learned that fratineto and frateto are used for little sister and little brother. What about big sister and big brother? Fratinego and Fratego sounds strange to me.

3 Answers 3


I disagree that frat(in)eto is the only or even the best way to say "little brother/sister." What I say is (mal)granda frat(in)o.

A quick check in the Tekstaro (checking only "Zamenhofaj" texts) shows that forms with granda are more common, and it seems that forms with -et- usually refer to younger siblings who are still small, or it's used as a caress form.

Checking the Tekstaro for adjectives used immediately before "frat-" suggests a few good aleternatives.

  • pli juna fratino
  • maljuna fratino
  • la malgrandan fratinon
  • ia malgranda fratino
  • viajn plej maljunajn kaj plej junajn fratinojn;
  • La plej aĝa frato
  • liaj du pli aĝaj fratoj.
  • mia malgranda fratino

And even

  • mia malgranda frateto

My recomendation - any variation with aĝa or granda is fine. Juna works too.


It is not routine for the concept to be compressed into one word; people generally say pli aĝa and malpli aĝa (pli juna) frat(in)o.

However, -eto and -ego do appear in print and they seem perfectly fine to me, a very sensible and appropriate use of those suffixes, particularly if relative age is socially important (e.g. in East Asia). So if you are hunting for a single word then feel free to say fratego, fratinego, etc.


Estas proverbo Pliaĝa frato estas dua patro do big brother estas pliaĝa frato.

There is a proverb Pliaĝa frato estas dua patro (Big brother is second father) so big brother is pliaĝa frato.

  • Is there an Esperanto translation of Nineteen Eighty-Four? Would be interesting to see how Big Brother was translated there. Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 9:39
  • @OliverMason There is one. "Big Brother" is translated as Granda Frato, but it doesn't mean that it's a good translation of "big brother" in the sense of "older brother".
    – miĥaŭ
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 9:53
  • True. It has a different meaning, but I thought it might be interesting to see what option was chosen for that one. Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 9:59

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