Definition of family in English:

family

noun

  • 1[treated as singular or plural] A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.

    • ‘But Choi argued how can families have fun together when parents are likely to concentrate on betting.’
    • ‘Michelle and dad Tony brought her home for five treasured days over Christmas so the family could be together.’
    • ‘Ashley went on to say that they are hoping to raise a family together by adopting a baby.’
    • ‘NEW safety rules which stopped many families from swimming together have been abandoned after protests from parents.’
    • ‘As a result, family camping is big during that time as families vacation together.’
    • ‘Shared parenting and family friendly work practices for both parents might even just keep more families together.’
    • ‘Groups such as Family Mediation Scotland are attempting to help families stay together, but apart.’
    • ‘Laura came from quite a good family, both parents still together, a rarity in those parts.’
    • ‘In single-parent families or families where both parents are at sea, the children are signed over to a guardian.’
    • ‘The good thing about having a big family, all living together, is having the support, and not being lonely.’
    • ‘Money for the project has come from the Parents Association and donations from families together with anonymous benefactors.’
    • ‘Trendsetting Jamie Oliver is already taking steps to get the whole family online and cooking together.’
    • ‘Many families find themselves in a social trap, unable to get back on their feet to enjoy the concept of living as a family.’
    • ‘As a result, some families rarely eat dinner together and parents and kids may not be taking the time to stay connected.’
    • ‘He emigrated to England at a young age, to work on farms with other members of his family to earn a living.’
    • ‘Ibsen goes even further in The Wild Duck, as it examines a family that is knit together with lies.’
    • ‘Dad sets the timer on his camera and gets the whole family together for a group photo.’
    • ‘The recent episode where they all pull together as a family was great.’
    • ‘If there were no one parent families, average family incomes would be much higher.’
    • ‘Eighty three percent of families are on some sort of benefit.’
    household, ménage
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    1. 1.1 A group of people related to one another by blood or marriage.
      ‘friends and family can provide support’
      • ‘Al Anon offers understanding, help and support to families and friends of problem drinkers in a confidential manner.’
      • ‘Hampshire police is also providing support to the families of people who have been affected by the disaster.’
      • ‘What matters most is that their close families and friends fully support their marriages.’
      • ‘Sincere sympathy is extended to all the families, relatives and friends of the deceased.’
      • ‘Burial took place before a very large gathering of family, relatives and friends.’
      • ‘The couple told their families that they planned to marry, although no definite plans had been made.’
      • ‘The happy couple tied the knot in the Holy Family Church and this was a very special occasion for the couple and their families.’
      • ‘They must find support from their families and friends to deal with the stress, anger, and fear they experience.’
      • ‘As the cause of death was read out, friends and family supported each other in their loss.’
      • ‘Six months on and the case has disappeared from the news, leaving the couple's families to try to rebuild their lives.’
      • ‘Their home was a very happy place, which family, relatives and friends loved to visit.’
      • ‘Inquiries are still ongoing into the deaths just over a week ago, and the couple's families are still struggling to come to terms with what has happened.’
      • ‘But we have had a lot of encouragement, we have friends and families coming out to support us, and we know we have the backing at home.’
      • ‘The family of the couple packed the court to see Oakley change his plea at the 11 th hour.’
      • ‘But the couple's families may never know what turned Richard Mace into a killer before taking his own life.’
      • ‘The couple's families were surprised at the union, but Imran and Jemima married in the summer of 1996.’
      • ‘Thank you to all the friends and family for all the support, whether it was food or condolences.’
      • ‘He encouraged everyone to put pressure on family, relatives and friends to turn out.’
      • ‘They also wanted to thank the media and friends and family who had supported their struggle to have their son released.’
      • ‘You are asked to encourage as many of your friends and family to donate blood.’
      relatives, relations, blood relations, family members, kin, next of kin, kinsfolk, kinsmen, kinswomen, kindred, one's flesh and blood, one's own flesh and blood, connections
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    2. 1.2 The children of a person or couple.
      ‘she has the sole responsibility for a large family’
      • ‘Couples desperate to start families come from across the North of England for fertility treatment in Leeds.’
      • ‘The property is not suitable for large families so the target market when trying to sell it is that of the first-time buyers and couples with young families.’
      • ‘Several meals out have been lavishly enjoyed by the couple and their family at this stage!’
      • ‘In the meantime, my college friends have embarked on their careers, marriages and families at home.’
      • ‘Every success in the future on this new venture to the couple and their family.’
      • ‘Couples with families might see more benefit in suburbs, or dormitory towns.’
      children, little ones, youngsters
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    3. 1.3 A person or people related to one and so to be treated with a special loyalty or intimacy.
      ‘I could not turn him away, for he was family’
      • ‘Luther dramatically succeeded and thereby inaugurated a new family of Protestant readings.’
      • ‘Then the river flow shrank to a trickle, forcing both families of hippos to share the same watering hole.’
      • ‘The news that GABA receptors constitute a family of proteins was music to drug companies' ears.’
      • ‘It is one of the youngest and the newest member of the family of constitutions.’
      • ‘They constitute a large family that includes both parasitic and free-living varieties.’
      • ‘There is a great need for phylogenetic analysis of virtually all the constituent families.’
    4. 1.4 A group of people united in criminal activity.
      • ‘We're talking about New York, where you'd have Mafia families fighting each other.’
      • ‘The Kahn family were a sort of mafia family, in charge of organized crime and such.’
      • ‘A county Kildare woman has this week begun working for one of the most notorious criminal families in the country.’
      • ‘The Feo family are that dying breed of huge mafia families with all the fighting and the stresses of seven very different people living in the same house.’
      • ‘Some of the mafia families have employed archaeologists to work directly for them, after making them an offer that they can't refuse.’
    5. 1.5Biology A principal taxonomic category that ranks above genus and below order, usually ending in -idae (in zoology) or -aceae (in botany)
      • ‘Later, Spencer recognized two new orders and three new suborders for the Paleozoic families.’
      • ‘In addition, honeyeaters are known to forage on a range of plant families, genera and species at any one time, and do not rely on a single plant species for food.’
      • ‘If one denies paraphyletic taxa, where do genera and families come from?’
      • ‘It takes time to learn so many new families, genera, and species.’
      • ‘Most authors agree in assigning a basal position in the family to both genera.’
      • ‘Their studies resulted in a profusion of new families, genera, and species.’
      • ‘The common names of these berries are confusing and sometimes overlap with those of berries in other genera or families.’
      • ‘Woodiness in Apiaceae is rare, as woody species are found in only ten of the 400 or so genera in the family.’
      • ‘The simulated taxa can be seen as analogous to genera or families, the usual focus of diversity studies.’
      • ‘According to Tralau, the order Ginkgoales consists of six families and 19 genera.’
      • ‘In genera of several families, species have been identified that possess no or no fully developed C 4 cycle.’
      • ‘The family consists of four genera, one of which is the Norwalk-like viruses.’
      • ‘Currently, little is known about relationships among families and genera of cavioid rodents.’
      • ‘The latter two families contain a single genus each that include one and three species, respectively.’
      • ‘The families, genera, and species are alphabetically arranged within each group.’
      • ‘Like the campanula family, the geranium genus is very large with the pratenses forming only a small part of the whole.’
      • ‘The two species belong to very different taxonomic families.’
      • ‘Two families and nine genera are known, although some of these latter are may turn out to be junior synonyms.’
      • ‘This group contains four retroposon families representing three genera of culicines.’
      • ‘We measured skull length because it is often taken as a measure of size, particularly within genera or families.’
      taxonomic group, group, order, class, subclass, genus, species
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    6. 1.6 A group of objects united by a significant shared characteristic.
      • ‘All models in the family share the same operating characteristics but are optimised for rated current.’
    7. 1.7Mathematics A group of curves or surfaces obtained by varying the value of a constant in the equation generating them.
      • ‘Families of curves arise, for example, in the solutions to differential equations with a free parameter.’
      • ‘Infinite families of cyclic Steiner triple systems and Room squares are constructed [in the papers].’
      • ‘We have developed galleries of animations that can be used by instructors at various levels to enhance the idea of families of curves and graphs and how the members of the family change when certain parameters are varied.’
  • 2All the descendants of a common ancestor.

    ‘the house has been owned by the same family for 300 years’
    • ‘All the victims came from old families, all direct descendants from the founders.’
    • ‘The house is still in one piece and the descendants of the Jalmry family live here.’
    • ‘We get some glimpse of this from the Friulan families formed by the descendants of Duke Orso of Ceneda and Duke Peter of Friuli.’
    • ‘Ann was a descendant of a family that could trace its ancestry back to the Norman Conquest.’
    • ‘Thinking of Plato as semi-divine, alien to us, is not so startling in a world in which great families claimed descent from the gods.’
    ancestry, parentage, birth, pedigree, genealogy, background, family tree, descent, lineage, line, line of descent, bloodline, blood, extraction, derivation, race, strain, stock, breed
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    1. 2.1 A race or group of peoples from a common stock.
      • ‘The sentimentality has less to do with politics, and more with nationhood and the great family of Germany.’
      • ‘There is no need to talk to understand the longing they feel for a new role in the European family of nations.’
      • ‘That is the way towards building a new Scotland, fit and ready to play its full part in the European family of nations.’
    2. 2.2 All the languages ultimately derived from a particular early language, regarded as a group.
      ‘the Austronesian language family’
      • ‘Language families and subfamilies are indicated on the branches of the tree.’
      • ‘Austronesian languages, like other language families, are very different from Indo-European.’
      • ‘The basic category historical linguistics deals with is that of the language family.’
      • ‘We know that because we know those language families well, they have long written records.’
      • ‘Hmong-Mien is one of the major language families spoken in southern China and Southeast Asia.’

adjective

  • [attributive] Designed to be suitable for children as well as adults.

    ‘a family newspaper’
    • ‘It is a family drama designed for an early evening prime-time slot.’
    • ‘The traditional family show is as usual presented in the village hall.’
    • ‘The show offers a seasonal alternative to pantos and is ideal for office outings and family get-togethers for all ages.’
    • ‘This is a delightful family film with layers of humour designed to appeal to all age groups.’
    • ‘If it's too vulgar for a family newspaper, I don't mind it being posted to me.’
    • ‘The other thing is the in-laws put a lot of stock by family get-togethers.’
    • ‘It lurches from heartwarming family drama to broad humor so fast that it leaves the viewer uncomfortable, unsure whether to take the characters and proceedings seriously or not.’
    • ‘It walks a very, very fine line between "family sitcom" and "cynical anti-family sitcom."’
    • ‘The club is also offering family season tickets for up to two adults and two children.’
    • ‘I enjoy movies of the 90s from time to time, especially those family dramas that make you cry at some silly make-up after a break-up.’
    • ‘The family day attracted a dozen families, who enjoyed a relaxed day.’
    • ‘Hopefully the weather will be suitable for the event which is a great family day out at a very popular venue.’
    • ‘The night I viewed, the audience was joining in with enthusiasm, knowing that they had been part of a good solid family entertainment.’
    • ‘There are also plenty of secluded places suitable for picnics making for a great family day out.’
    • ‘The most interesting thing, if you ask me, is how "the irreverent, oppositional ethic that controlled pirate identity" winds up as the theme of family rides at these parks.’
    • ‘For all of my childhood and the early part of my adult life, in Dublin, we had a family Christmas tree.’
    • ‘Even Rod has now been moved to join in with a startling attack on Ms Mone, which does not bear repeating in a family newspaper.’
    • ‘The family day takes place on Sunday, with a feast of underage football, bouncing castle, glamorous granny competition, bonny baby competition etc.’
    • ‘At first sight this focus on the home might seem to impose a general standard of what is suitable for family viewing.’
    • ‘The Museum Gardens was reclaimed for family use after just such an order was enforced.’

Phrases

  • in the family way

    • Pregnant.

      • ‘What are you going to do if she gets in the family way?’
      • ‘What seems possible is that Summer, having got Bridget pregnant, fell in with the precociously clever Jenny Jones and put her in the family way as well.’
      • ‘It's as simple as this: You don't walk out on a girl who's in the family way.’
      • ‘Our mothers think it is a very odd thing that you would want to see your wife while she is in the family way.’
      • ‘Working in a brothel it wasn't uncommon for a girl to end up in the family way and Eileen always quickly arranged to fix the problem.’
      expecting a baby, having a baby, with a baby on the way, having a child, expectant, carrying a child
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Origin

Late Middle English ( family): from Latin familia household servants, household, family from famulus servant.

Pronunciation:

family

/ˈfam(ə)lē/