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Then again, maybe it’s not necessary: English, after all, is a notorious word thief.Around the 12 century, we took the words niece, nephew, and cousin from French, and those words have served us well.

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But Rabin says this is how it possibly went down: “Peace-weaving relationships are almost always depicted as ending in failure, often because my sister has stabbed you in the marriage bed—sorry!As a very large island in the Indian Ocean (1000 miles from north to south, and in land area more than twice the size of Great Britain), Madagascar is a natural landfall for seafarers sailing east from Africa or west from Indonesia.Although the voyage from Indonesia is by far the longer, the ethnic make-up of the island's population, known collectively as the Malagasy, is as much Indonesian as African.In early medieval society, a beef between two people could easily spark a generations-long Hatfield-and-Mc Coys-style feud.So, some families tried to solve things with a high-drama union: One family’s daughter or sister was married off to the other family’s son or brother, and she was called a freoðu-webbe (translation: “peace weaver”).

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