How to Answer the “Number of Siblings” You Have? (Siblings Meaning)

In English, people will talk about their families and reference several words to indicate the number and type of people with whom they share a relation. When you want to speak about brothers and sisters, you would use the word “siblings.”

Siblings are brothers and/or sisters who share at least one parent. This means either their mother or father had children together or with someone else. Plus, this is a gender-neutral term and is helpful when referencing a group of siblings that are a mix of both males and females.

Number of  Siblings Question

The “Number of Siblings” question means “How many brothers and sisters do you have?”.

So for example, you have 2 brothers and 1 sister then your answer would be 3.

Number of Siblings: 3

Sibling Etymology

The word “sibling” comes from Old English or Old High German referring to kinship, love, peace and fraternity. Older usage of the word intended to include all close blood relationships with whom the person grew up as a child. This could refer to friends and cousins as well as brothers and sisters.

These older uses of sibling include other people who are family, but may not directly come from a parent. Sibling, in this context, was a noun, verb or adjective to indicate another’s kinsman or blood relation.

How It’s Used Today

But, today, “sibling” solely references a noun. However, it’s more common for people who have a mix of genders to use it rather than for one type of gender. If someone has only brothers or sisters, they will use the corresponding word.

I have several siblings. Four come from my mother and an additional three from my father.

Sally comes from a huge family with many siblings. Her parents had four girls and four boys.

You don’t have a sibling, you don’t understand what rivalry is.

Correct ; Common Usage

The following examples show correct usage of “sibling.” While there really isn’t any incorrect way, there are instances where it will either be awkward or give the wrong impression to someone about the genders of siblings you have.

There are many siblings in my family, they’re all girls. [sort of awkward because the first part suggests varying genders]

You have three siblings, one boy and two girls. [more correct because there are both males and females]


“Sibling” will always refer to the brothers and sisters a person has. It’s a good way to shorten speech, but it can also be a gender-neutral description for a group of siblings that comprise both males and females.