NEPHEW, the son of a brother or sister. The word is adapted from Fr. neveu, Lat. nepos (originally " grandson " or " descendant "). The O. Eng. nefa survived in the form neve till the 1Sth century; this represents the Teutonic branch, cf. Ger. Nejfe, Dutch neef; the ultimate root is seen in the cognate Gr. viiroSes, " descendants," avef/UK, " kinsman," and Sans. napdt, napt, " descendants " or " descendant." The correlative " niece," the daughter of a brother or sister, is from Fr. niece, Lat. neplis, the feminine form of nepos; the O. Eng. word was nift, cf. Ger. Nichte. A euphemistic use of " nephew " is that of the natural son of a pope, cardinal or other ecclesiastic; and from the practice of granting preferments to such children the word " nepotism " is used of any favouritism shown in finding positions for a man's family.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)