Meaning of FAMILY in English


I. ˈfam(ə)lē, ˈfaamlē, -li noun

( -es )

Etymology: Middle English familie, from Latin familia servants of a household, household including not only the servants but also the head of the household and all persons in it related to him by blood or marriage, from famulus servant; perhaps akin to Sanskrit dhāman dwelling place, dadhāti he puts, places — more at do I


a. archaic : a group of persons in the service of an individual

he had a great family , that is to say … many slaves who worked in his bronze foundry — Maurice Samuel

b. : the retinue or staff of a nobleman or high official

invited … to join his military family as aide-de-camp — H.E.Scudder

c. : a group of people bound together by philosophical, religious, or other convictions : fellowship

belongs to the Kantian family — W.E.Schlaretzki

d. : a body of employees or volunteer workers united in a common enterprise

reference is made not just to the administrators, but to every single member of the community hospital family — G.W.Gilbert


a. : a group of persons of common ancestry : clan

let us assail the family of York — Shakespeare

specifically : a group of persons of distinguished lineage

the office has always been held by men of family — Oswald Banon

b. : a people or group of peoples regarded as deriving from a common stock : race

the worldwide family of human beings — K.F.Mather


a. : a group of individuals living under one roof : household

the family includes a poodle — TV Guide

b. : the body of persons who live in one house and under one head including parents, children, servants, and lodgers or boarders ; specifically : a group of persons sharing a common dwelling and table considered for census purposes to include at one extreme a single person living alone and at the other the residents of a hotel or the inmates of a prison

4. : a group of things having common features or properties: as


(1) in the classification of languages of the eastern hemisphere : a number of related languages comprising all those held to be demonstrably descended from a single ancestral language that itself is not demonstrably related to any other language by descent from a common ancestral language

the Afro-Asiatic language family

(2) in the classification of languages of the western hemisphere : a number of related languages comprising all those held to be demonstrably descended from a single ancestral language believed to have existed approximately 5 to 25 centuries ago

b. : musical instruments having the same basic method of tone production

the double-reed family

the viol family

c. : a set of typefaces of the same name and basic design that are cast in various sizes, weights, and widths

the Cheltenham family

— compare font , series

d. : a closely related series of elements or chemical compounds:

(1) : a subgroup in the periodic table

the chromium family

(2) : radioactive series

the radium family

(3) : a homologous series of organic compounds

the paraffin family

e. : a group of rocks of the same general mineralogical and chemical composition


(1) : a group of asteroids whose orbits have similar characteristics which remain little changed over long periods of time prob. because of their common origin

(2) : a group of comets whose aphelion points are near that of one of the major planets prob. as a result of successive gravitational encounters with the planet

g. : a group of soils that have similar profiles and include one or more series — called also soil family


a. : the basic biosocial unit in society having as its nucleus two or more adults living together and cooperating in the care and rearing of their own or adopted children

the association of adults … is the necessary nucleus of any family — Ralph Linton

b. : one's children

a young mother scouring her numerous family with flat pancakes of … river clay — Marguerite Steen

c. : a male and female animal with their young

the typical gorilla band has as many as five associated families — Weston La Barre


a. : a group of related plants or animals forming a category ranking above a genus and below an order, usually comprising several to many genera, but sometimes including a single genus of notably distinctive characters

b. in livestock breeding

(1) : the descendants or line of a particular individual especially of some outstanding female

(2) : an identifiable strain within a breed

c. : an ecological community consisting of a single kind of organism and usually being of limited extent and representing an early stage of a succession

7. mathematics : an infinite set — used of curves and surfaces

II. adjective

1. : of or relating to a family

a strong family resemblance

2. : adapted to family use or participation

a family room

family dances

III. noun

1. : a group constituting a unit of a crime syndicate (as the Mafia) and engaging in underworld activities within a defined geographical area

2. : a set of curves, surfaces, functions, equations, or expressions that differ in mathematical representation only in the values assigned to one or more parameters

3. : any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family

a single-parent family

IV. adjective

: designed or suitable for both children and adults

family restaurants

family movies

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.