English family vocabulary
A family is a wonderful institution and the ties that exist between the members of a family are stronger than any other relationships. Your family consists of your parents, siblings, wife or husband and children. A typical nuclear family consists of a father, a mother and their children. A joint family which is more or less the norm in a country like India may also consist of one’s grandparents, uncles, aunts and their children.
Your parents (your mother and father) and your siblings (brothers and sisters) are your closet relatives. Your uncles and aunts are the brothers and sisters of your parents. Your uncle’s wife also becomes your aunt. In the same way, your aunt’s husband becomes your uncle.
If your uncles or aunts have children, they are your first cousins. Note that the word cousin can refer to both men and women. That means you don’t have to say cousin brother or cousin sister. Your male child is your son whereas your female child is your daughter. Your brother’s or sister’s son is your nephew. Your brother’s or sister’s daughter is your niece.
When a woman marries, her husband’s family becomes her in-laws. In the same way, when a man marries his wife’s family becomes his in-laws. Your husband’s or wife’s (if you are a man) mother and father are your mother-in-law and father-in-law respectively. Your husband’s brothers are your brothers-in-law. Your husband’s sisters are your sisters-in-law. If you are a woman you are the daughter-in-law of your husband’s family. If you are a man you are the son-in-law of your wife’s parents.
Grandparents / grandchildren
The parents of your parents are your grandparents – grandmother and grandfather and you are their grandson or granddaughter. If your grandfather or grandmother has a sister, she is your great-aunt and you are her great-nephew (if you are a man) or great-niece (if you are a woman). If your grandparent has a brother, he is your great-uncle.
The parents of your grandparents are your great-grandfather and great-grandmother and you are their great-grandson or great-granddaughter.
Sometimes married couples separate, either due to death or due to irreconcilable differences. If your father remarries another woman, she becomes your step-mother. If your mother remarries another man, he becomes your step-father. If your step-father or step-mother already has children, they become your step-brothers and step-sisters. If your mother or father remarries and has children, they become your half-brothers or half-sisters.
Your closest relatives are often referred to as your immediate family. Your extended family includes your entire family.
A blood relative is a person with whom you have a blood relationship. For example, you have blood relationships with your cousins. Relationships formed through marriages aren’t blood relationships. For example, you are unlikely to have a blood relationship with your sister-in-law or brother-in-law although it is possible if you marry one of your cousins.
Expressions with family
A meeting of family members is often called a family gathering.
To start a family is to have children.
If a particular characteristic (for example, baldness) is common among family members, it is said to run in the family.
To raise or bring up children is to look after them until they reach adulthood. A family man is a person who likes to spend time with his family.
Sibling rivalry is the somewhat harmless competition and squabbles between brothers and sisters. However, parents must ensure that these fights don’t continue into adulthood. If they do, it could lead to family feuds where both sides hate each other.
A son who is no longer on speaking terms with his parents is an estranged son. Sometimes parents disinherit their children. This usually happens due to some irreconcilable differences. A disinherited son or daughter will have no rights to their parent’s property.
Father: a male parent
Mother: a female parent
Dad (informal): one’s father
Mum, mummy, mom (informal): one’s mother
Parent: father or mother
Child (Plural Children): a son or daughter of any age
Son: a male child
Daughter: a female child
Brother: a man or boy in relation to other children of his parents
Sister: a woman or girl in relation to other children of her parents
Grandfather (Informal grandpa): the father of one’s father or mother
Paternal grandfather: the father of one’s father
Maternal grandfather: the father of one’s mother
Grandmother (Informal grandma): the mother of one’s father or mother
Paternal grandmother: the mother of one’s father
Maternal grandmother: the mother of one’s mother
Grandson: a boy child of one’s son or daughter
Granddaughter: a girl child of one’s son or daughter
Uncle: the brother of one’s father or mother or the husband of one’s aunt
Aunt: the sister of one’s father or mother or the wife of one’s uncle
Cousin: any child of one’s uncle or aunt
Nephew: a son of one’s brother or sister or of one’s brother-in-law or sister-in-law
Niece: a daughter of one’s brother or sister or of one’s brother-in-law or sister-in-law
Fiancée: a woman to whom a man is engaged to be married
Fiance: a man to whom a woman is engaged to be married
Bride: a woman on her wedding day or just before and after the event
Bridegroom: a man on his wedding day or just before and after the event
Wife: the woman to whom a particular man is married
Husband: the man to whom a particular woman is married
Spouse: one’s husband or wife
Father-in-law: the father of one’s husband or wife
Mother-in-law: the mother of one’s husband or wife
Sister-in-law: the sister of one’s husband or wife or the wife of one’s brother or brother-in-law
Brother-in-law: the brother of one’s husband or wife or the husband of one’s sister or sister-in-law
Son-in-law: the husband of one’s daughter
Daughter-in-law: the wife of one’s son
Godparent: A person who presents a child at baptism and promises to be responsible for their religious education