Definition of family jewels in US English:

family jewels

plural noun

  • 1Valuable items of jewelry belonging to a particular family and handed down from one generation to the next.

    ‘the Astor family jewels’
    • ‘My pearls were once a part of the Darcy family jewels before they were given to me.’
    • ‘In my novel, the character sees past wearers standing before her when she adorns herself with family jewels.’
    • ‘The collection consists of traditional jewellery inspired from the family jewels of the Nizam.’
    • ‘The incident comes just three months after a gang raided the family's home and got away with family jewels worth over 2 million pounds.’
    • ‘The castle was sacked in 1644, but according to legend, not before the family jewels were thrown into the river, from which they were never recovered.’
    • ‘It was unfortunate because the robbers broke into his house and demanded that he hand over the family jewels.’
    • ‘He's someone who would soak the rich, take away their mink coats and family jewels to buy the poor basic food, shelter and education.’
    • ‘At festive times when she did wear the family jewels at my mother's insistence, she took ages to put them on.’
    • ‘He criticizes judges who have overruled will provisions requesting the demolition of a family estate or a burial with family jewels.’
    • ‘My grandfather gave her that necklace, from the family jewels.’
  • 2humorous A man's genitals.

    • ‘She didn't mention anything about my family jewels, which must evidently hang out when I fight.’
    • ‘How would he have felt if his friend had missed the ‘target’ and ended up shooting off his family jewels?’
    • ‘Without hesitation, she lifts her knee, hitting him in the family jewels.’
    • ‘Then I kicked him hard, right into his family jewels.’
    • ‘Something cold and clammy ran up his leg, into his pants and was racing its way towards his family jewels!’


  • sell (or sell off) the family jewels

    • Part with or sell valuable or precious resources for the sake of immediate profit or advantage.

      ‘he has no intention of selling the family jewels by licensing out his technology too early’
      • ‘There are accusations of selling off the family jewels to pay for extravagant building projects.’
      • ‘Governments have to sell off the family jewels to pay for infrastructure.’
      • ‘Sometimes the rich clubs get richer, but the not-quite-so-rich sell off most of the family jewels to remain solvent.’
      • ‘I am able to pay for this private treatment without having to sell the family jewels.’
      • ‘Another idea was that, to help get out of debt, we sell off the family jewels: in effect, we look at asset sales.’
      • ‘This has been regarded by many as a selling of the family jewels for a quick gain by the council.’
      • ‘It is widely known that he was most unhappy about selling the country's family jewels.’
      • ‘I was pleasantly surprised that the government is not selling the family jewels.’