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cross-cousin In kinship theory, cross-cousin is a term used to describe first cousins whose related parents are of the opposite sex. In other words the mother of one is the sister of the father of the other. Societies vary as to whether they forbid or prefer marriages between cross-cousins. The term was introduced by Edward Tylor, but used extensively by Claude Lévi-Strauss to examine the ‘elementary structures of kinship’, by which he meant the rules that govern preferences and proscriptions about marriage between parallel cousins and cross-cousins.