Meaning of “family” in the English Dictionary

"family" in British English

See all translations


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


us /ˈfæm·ə·li, ˈfæm·li/


[ 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)