"brother or sister," 1903, a modern revival (originally in anthropology) of Middle English and Old English sibling "relative, kinsman or kinswoman," from sibb "kinship, relationship; love, friendship, peace, happiness," from Proto-Germanic *sibja- "blood relation, relative," properly "one's own" (source also of Old Saxon sibba, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch sibbe, Old High German sippa, German Sippe, Gothic sibja "kin, kindred"), from PIE *s(w)e-bh(o)- (source also of Old Church Slavonic sobistvo, Russian sob "character, individuality"), an enlargement of the root *swe- "self" (see idiom). Compare the second element in gossip.
The word 'sib' or 'sibling' is coming into use in genetics in the English-speaking world, as an equivalent of the convenient German term 'Geschwister' [E.&C. Paul, "Human Heredity," 1930]
In Old English, sibb and its compounds covered senses of "brotherly love, familial affection" which tended later to lump into love (n.), as in sibsumnes "peace, concord, brotherly love," sibbian (v.) "bring together, reconcile," sibbecoss "kiss of peace." Sibship, however, is a modern formation (1908). Sib persisted through Middle English as a noun, adjective, and verb expressing kinship and relationship. Sibling group is by 1950; sibling rivalry by 1937.
updated on September 25, 2022