- in-law (n.)
- 1894, "anyone of a relationship not natural," 1894, abstracted from father-in-law, etc.
The position of the 'in-laws' (a happy phrase which is attributed ... to her Majesty, than whom no one can be better acquainted with the article) is often not very apt to promote happiness. ["Blackwood's Magazine," 1894]The earliest recorded use of the formation is in brother-in-law (13c.); the law is Canon Law, which defines degrees of relationship within which marriage is prohibited. Middle English inlaue (13c.) meant "one within or restored to the protection and benefit of the law" (opposite of an outlaw), from a verb inlauen, from Old English inlagian.