By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, March 12, 2009
In modern Hebrew, nin means “great-grandson”. However, in the Bible, nin refers to son as in Abimelech’s request to Abraham: “Swear to me… that you will not deal falsely with me or with my nin [son] or grandchild” (Genesis 20:23)
The ancient Semitic meanings of nin are “fish” and “to sprout, increase”. In the early 20th century, there was some ambiguity regarding the use of nin. Many used nin for nephew, which was a kinship term absent in the Bible. Over the years, however, people came to use nin exclusively for great-grandchild.