What is neighbor?

Neighbor is a term that comes from the Latin vicīnus (which, in turn, comes from vicus and means “neighborhood” or “place”). The concept is used to name those who live with other people in the same building, neighborhood or city, although in independent housing. In other words: the members of a family who live in the same house are not neighbors with each other, but neighbors of families who live in neighboring or nearby houses.

For example: “I have problems with my neighbor because he listens to very loud music at night” , “I moved three months ago and I still don’t know my neighbors” , “Mónica got a neighbor’s girlfriend” , “A group of neighbors appeared in court to denounce the existence of trade in stolen goods in the neighborhood” .

The notion of neighbor, therefore, depends on geographic proximity. Strictly speaking, neighbors are those who live in adjoining houses or apartments. In any case, the term can be extended to cover entire neighborhoods or cities. Within this type of community there is an element that becomes an indispensable tool not only to achieve perfect coexistence between all neighbors, in an attempt to solve the problems that may arise, but also to face the setbacks that may arise. With the latter we refer to issues such as reforms, ruptures, failures… Specifically, we are referring to what is called the Neighborhood Council. It is a meeting that is convened periodically in the building in question and that must have representatives from each of the families that make up the community. Both a president and a member or a secretary, chosen from among all the neighbors and for them, are responsible for presiding over the referred meeting where projects can be proposed, solving problems that have to be solved before the authorities, ending deficiencies of infrastructure … Two television series were produced in Spain which, in the tone of comedy, dealt with conflicts, gossip and problems in neighboring communities. It’s about “Nobody’s alive here” and “He who comes”, the latter still in the air. Living with neighbors can be difficult. As in any social field, you need respect and understanding to avoid conflict. The problem is that, while in intrafamily coexistence there is ample knowledge of each one and the bonds are marked by affection, neighbors are usually strangers who only know each other, in part, over time. Nor can we ignore the existence of a number of terms or expressions that are used colloquially. It would be the case of the “neighbor’s son”. With it, reference is made to any person who was born in a city, or who is the son of parents who have been established in that city.

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Neighbor, finally, can be used as an adjective to designate the similar, coincident or similar: “The president and the governor have neighboring positions in relation to international trade” .

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