National Uncle Day

A joyful group of people, including a young woman and her uncle, enjoying a sunny day at an amusement park, wearing vibrant summer attire and surrounded by colorful rides and attractions..
National uncle day illustration

Uncle Sam wants celebrate National Uncle Day! This day is all about giving a shout-out to those awesome uncles who make our lives a little more fun and adventurous. Whether they're the entertaining jokesters or the wise and caring mentors, uncles are truly special. So grab your favorite uncle, and let's dive into the internet history of this delightful day!

When is Uncle Day?

It's national uncle day on the 10th May.

The Origins of National Uncle Day

Unlike some national holidays that trace their roots back to ancient times or significant historical events, National Uncle Day has a more recent origin. It was first mentioned online on May 10, 2020, when 13 websites celebrated the day. While we couldn't find any documented evidence of the exact creator or reasons behind its establishment, it's safe to assume that someone realized the importance of honoring these unsung family heroes.

Celebrate and Appreciate Your Uncle

On National Uncle Day, it's time to show appreciation for the uncles in your life who have played a significant role. They may have been your partner in crime during childhood adventures or the ones who offered guidance and support when you needed it most.

One great way to celebrate is by spending quality time with your uncle. Plan a fun outing, such as a trip to the amusement park or a game of mini-golf. If distance separates you, make a phone or video call to let him know how much he means to you.

Another thoughtful gesture is to write a heartfelt message or card expressing your gratitude for all the ways your uncle has positively impacted your life. Let him know that he's not just an uncle but also a friend and a mentor.

Fun Fact: Uncle Sam and National Uncle Day

Did you know that the iconic figure of Uncle Sam is often associated with National Uncle Day? Uncle Sam, with his recognizable white beard, top hat, and patriotic attire, represents the United States government and is a symbol of American patriotism. While there is no official connection between Uncle Sam and this special day, it's a fun coincidence that adds to the Uncle Day celebrations!

History behind the term 'Uncle'


Origin in Early British English

The term 'uncle' originated in early British English during the 1700s. It was derived from the Middle English word 'uncle' or 'owelkne,' which in turn was inherited from the Old English word 'ēam' or 'ǣam'. Initially, the term was used solely to refer to the brother of one's parent.


Etymology of 'uncle'

The term 'uncle' traces its origins back to the 15th century. It is derived from the Latin word 'avunculus,' which means 'mother's brother.' The Latin word then evolved into the Old French term 'oncle' and eventually found its way into the English language as 'uncle.' This word became the commonly used term to refer to the brothers of one's parents.


Inclusion of extended family

In the mid-16th century, the meaning of 'uncle' expanded beyond just the brothers of one's parents to include various other familial relationships. It started to encompass one's father's brothers, and eventually extended to the brothers of one's grandparents as well. This broadening of the term reflected the importance of extended family ties and the acknowledgment of various paternal and maternal connections.

19th Century

Expansion of Meaning

During the 19th century, the meaning of 'uncle' expanded beyond just referring to a man's paternal or maternal brother. It started to be used more broadly to address unrelated older males, often as a sign of respect or familiarity. This expansion of meaning allowed for the recognition of honorary uncles, family friends, or respected male figures as 'uncles.'

20th Century

Uncle as a Term of Endearment

In the 20th century, the term 'uncle' gained popularity as a term of endearment and familiarity within certain cultures. In many societies worldwide, 'uncle' became an affectionate term used by children or younger individuals to address older males within their communities, whether they were blood-related or not. This usage helped foster a sense of communal bonding and respect for older generations.


Figurative use in literature

By the late 17th century, 'uncle' began to be used in a more figurative sense, beyond its strictly familial connotation. It started appearing in literary works to describe older male characters who acted as mentors or guides. This usage highlighted the societal perception of uncles as experienced and wise individuals who provided guidance and support to their younger relatives.

19th century

Uncle as a term of endearment

During the 19th century, 'uncle' gained further usage as a term of endearment. It became common to address unrelated older men or close family friends as 'uncle' as a sign of respect and familiarity. This usage fostered a sense of community and solidarity, blurring the lines of biological relationships and emphasizing the importance of chosen family.

Internet Era

Uncle as an Internet Meme

In the 21st century, the term 'uncle' took on a new meaning within internet culture. It became associated with memetic behavior, especially related to outdated or misguided opinions typically held by older individuals. 'Uncle' memes often depict someone who stubbornly clings to traditional notions or fails to adapt to societal changes. This usage is most prevalent in online communities and social media platforms.

20th century

Uncle as a cultural icon

In the 20th century, the term 'uncle' took on a significant cultural connotation in various contexts. Uncle Sam, the personification of the United States, became a widely recognized symbol, representing the American government and its values. Additionally, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' a seminal novel published in 1852, portrayed the character of Uncle Tom, who became an influential figure in discussions surrounding race, slavery, and empathy.

Did you know?

Did you know that the United States celebrates Uncle Sam Day on September 13th? It's a day dedicated to honoring Uncle Sam as a symbol of American patriotism. So, not only do we have National Uncle Day to celebrate our personal uncles, but also a special day for Uncle Sam himself!


fun loved ones celebration family

First identified

28th June 2019

Most mentioned on

10th May 2020

Total mentions


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