• (RP) IPA: /ˈfæm(ɪ)li/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈfæm(ə)li/, /ˈfæmɪli/
  • (New Zealand) IPA: /ˈfɛm(ɘ)li/


  1. (countable) A group of people who are closely related to one another (by blood, marriage or adoption); kin; for example, a set of parents and their children; an immediate family.
    Our family lives in town.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      Such a scandal#English|scandal as the prosecution of a brother#English|brother for forgery—with a verdict of guilty—is a most truly horrible, deplorable, fatal thing. It takes the respectability out of a family perhaps at a critical moment#English|moment, when the family is just assuming the robes of respectability: […] it is a black spot which all the soaps ever advertised could never wash off.
  2. (countable) An extended family; a group of people who are related to one another by blood or marriage.
    • 1915, William T. Groves, A History and Genealogy of the Groves Family in America
  3. (countable) A (close-knit) group of people related by blood, friendship, marriage, law, or custom, especially if they live or work together.
    crime family, Mafia family
    This is my fraternity family at the university.
    Our company is one big happy family.
  4. (uncountable, taxonomy) lineage, especially an honorable one
    • 1853, Charles Dickens, Bleak House, ch 2:
      Indeed, he married her for love. A whisper still goes about that she had not even 'family'; howbeit, Sir Leicester had so much family that perhaps he had enough and could dispense with any more.
  5. (countable, taxonomy) A rank in the classification of organisms, below order and above genus; a taxon at that rank.
    Magnolias belong to the family Magnoliaceae.
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page 4:
      The closest affinities of the Jubulaceae are with the Lejeuneaceae. The two families share in common: a elaters usually 1-spiral, trumpet-shaped and fixed to the capsule valves, distally […].
  6. (countable) Any group or aggregation of things classed together as kindred or related from possessing in common characteristics which distinguish them from other things of the same order.
    Doliracetam is a drug from the racetam family.
    • 2010, Gary Shelly, Jennifer Campbell, Ollie Rivers, Microsoft Expression Web 3: Complete (page 262)
      When creating a font family, first decide whether to use all serif or all sans-serif fonts, then choose two or three fonts of that type […]
  7. (countable, music) A group of instruments having the same basic method of tone production.
    the brass family;  the violin family
  8. (countable, linguistics) A group of languages believed to have descended from the same ancestral language.
    the Indo-European language family;  the Afroasiatic language family
  9. Used attributively.
    The dog was kept as a family pet.
    For Apocynaceae, this type of flower is a family characteristic.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Adjective

family (not comparable)

  1. Suitable for children and adults.
    It's not good for a date, it's a family restaurant.
    Some animated movies are not just for kids, they are family movies.
  2. Conservative, traditional.
    The cultural struggle is for the survival of family values against all manner of atheistic amorality.
  3. (slang) Homosexual.
    I knew he was family when I first met him.
  • German: Familien-
  • Portuguese: de família
  • Russian: семейный
  • German: vom anderen Ufer
Related terms

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