family – [ fam-uh-lee, fam-lee ] – / ˈfæm ə li, ˈfæm li / – Noun, plural fam·i·lies


  • a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family.
    • a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for: a single-parent family.
  • the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family.
  • the spouse and children of one person: We’re taking the family on vacation next week.
  • any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins: to marry into a socially prominent family.
  • all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor.
  • Chiefly British. approved lineage, especially noble, titled, famous, or wealthy ancestry: young men of family.
  • a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents, children, and servants. the staff, or body of assistants, of an official: the office family.
  • a group of related things or people: the family of romantic poets; the halogen family of elements.
  • a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together: Many hippie communes of the sixties regarded themselves as families.
  • a group of products or product models made by the same manufacturer or producer.
  • Biology. the usual major subdivision of an order or suborder in the classification of plants, animals, fungi, etc., usually consisting of several genera.
  • Slang. a unit of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra operating in one area under a local leader.
  • Linguistics. the largest category into which languages related by common origin can be classified with certainty: Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, and Austronesian are the most widely spoken families of languages.
  • Mathematics.
    • a given class of solutions of the same basic equation, differing from one another only by the different values assigned to the constants in the equation.
    • a class of functions or the like defined by an expression containing a parameter.
    • a set.


  • of, relating to, or characteristic of a family: a family trait.
  • belonging to or used by a family: a family automobile; a family room.
  • suitable or appropriate for adults and children: a family amusement park.
  • not containing obscene language: a family newspaper.

clan, tribe, group, people, house, household, folk, dynasty, strain, ancestry, parentage, brood, pedigree, inheritance, progeny, system, extraction, issue, relationship, kindred

in a/the family way, pregnant

1350–1400; Middle English familie < Latin familia a household, the slaves of a household, equivalent to famul(us) servant, slave


  • an·ti·fam·i·ly, adjective
  • in·ter·fam·i·ly, adjective


  • Everywhere I go, ‘Hey Cartman, you must like Family Guy, right?’
  • Saved from the public gallows, Weeks was virtually exiled from the city, and wound up in Mississippi, where he raised a family.
  • A spokesman for Lewisham council said last year that it would be forced to act if the family returned to Britain.
  • Three on-the-record stories from a family: a mother and her daughters who came from Phoenix.
  • Ney said McDonnell needs to “keep a stiff lip” and stay in close contact with family members.
  • She represented, not the institution of the family, but the institution of the Church.
  • Strangers who come at this time of day at once enter the family circle.
  • The simple fact was, that Pope’s grandfather, the highest they could trace the family, was a clergyman in Hampshire.
  • Kittens are not hereditary in the family of fowls, and she knew it.
  • All the other children in the family of unusually superior intelligence.

Posted in Letter Ff, Word of the Day.