Meaning of “family” in the English Dictionary

"family" in English

See all translations

familynoun

uk /ˈfæm.əl.i/ us /ˈfæm.əl.i/

family noun (SOCIAL GROUP)

A1 [ C or U + sing/pl verb ] a group of people who are related to each other, such as a mother, a father, and their children:

A new family has/have moved in next door.
I come from a large family - I have three brothers and two sisters.
He doesn't have any family.
He's American but his family (= relatives in the past) come/comes from Ireland.
This movie is good family entertainment (= something that can be enjoyed by parents and children together).
How do you like family life (= being married, having children, etc.)?

B1 [ C usually singular, U + sing/pl verb ] the children of a family:

Women shouldn't have to choose between career and family (= having children).
Paul and Ana are hoping to start a family (= have children) soon.
My dad died when we were small so my mum raised the family on her own.

[ C, + sing/pl verb ] a pair of adult animals and their babies:

We've got a family of squirrels living in our garden.

More examples

(Definition of “family” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"family" in American English

See all translations

familynoun

us /ˈfæm·ə·li, ˈfæm·li/

family noun (PARENTS AND CHILDREN)

[ C/U ] a social group of parents, children, and sometimes grandparents, uncles, aunts, and others who are related:

[ C ] Her family moved here when she was eleven.
[ U ] Many people cope with the demands of both career and family.
[ C ] She wants to get married and have a family (= have children).

family noun (BIOLOGICAL TYPE)

biology [ C ] a large group of related types of animals or plants:

The lion is a member of the cat family.

(Definition of “family” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Help us add to the Cambridge Dictionary!

These examples are from external sources. Click on the icon to tell us if any are not OK.

family

We particularly hope that the necessary infrastructures will be created which will allow women farmers to combine their working and family life and have quality of life.
There must therefore be policies that promote an extensive and tightly-knit network of small and medium-sized family farms and the development of local and regional markets.
Elementary rights, such as the right to have contact with family members and legal counsel, are often granted only on a restricted basis or disregarded altogether.
With regard to the conditions for exercising the right to family reunification, we maintain the reasons of public order, security and public health when it comes to granting that right.
Put yourselves in the shoes of a real family, and imagine the message that is being sent out to the children and teenagers.
The report makes some positive improvements, widening the concept of the family, eliminating or simplifying some bureaucracy, and guaranteeing more rights than those planned initially.
There are alternatives; the most important thing is that people are committed to each other, that they have a family life.
Most countries now allow partners to be officially registered and this category therefore needs to be included in the definition of family members.
Activities relating to care of the elderly, or those stemming from the need to reconcile professional and family life are clear examples.
What, for example, is the cost of a long-hours culture in terms of damage to family life, damage to children and marital dysfunction?