Uso is the Samoan word for either brother or sister, depending on your gender.
You’ll see/hear this word thrown around a lot amongst Samoans – “Eh, uso!” or “Ua ‘li’i, uso?” and sometimes more ‘urban’ Samoans will make this short word even shorter: “Hey, uce!”
Not my favorite variation of the word, but I’ll let it slide as long as we’re using it in the right context.
These days, I notice a lot of guys calling their sisters (or female relatives/friends) ‘uso’, or girls calling guys ‘uso’ and I can’t tell whether they’re just trying to be all “bend-the-rules-cool”, or they really don’t know the correct way to use this word.
SO I figured it was my responsibility as a citizen of Samoa (seriously, I was born there) and a publisher of Samoan-related stuff to share a little knowledge. To be fair, and in the interest of non-judgement, I myself only learned this distinction a few years ago.
Thank goodness for adult community education and a NZ government that encourages Pacific language learning.
This post is also inspired by a couple of very enlightening articles by teacher and blogger Liz M.