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Definition of "family" [fam•i•ly]

  • A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children. (noun)
  • Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place. (noun)
  • All the members of a household under one roof. (noun)
  • A group of persons sharing common ancestry. See Usage Note at collective noun. (noun)
  • Lineage, especially distinguished lineage. (noun)
  • A primary social group consisting of parents and their offspring, the principal function of which is provision for its members (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • (as modifier) (noun)
  • One's wife or husband and one's children (noun)
  • One's children, as distinguished from one's husband or wife (noun)
  • A group of persons related by blood; a group descended from a common ancestor (noun)
  • All the persons living together in one household (noun)
  • Any group of related things or beings, esp when scientifically categorized (noun)
  • Any of the taxonomic groups into which an order is divided and which contains one or more genera. Felidae (cat family) and Canidae (dog family) are two families of the order Carnivora (noun)
  • A group of organisms of the same species living together in a community (noun)
  • A group of historically related languages assumed to derive from one original language (noun)
  • An independent local group of the Mafia (noun)
  • A group of curves or surfaces whose equations differ from a given equation only in the values assigned to one or more constants in each curve (noun)
  • The isotopes, collectively, that comprise a radioactive series (noun)

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Use "family" in a sentence
  • "We think she's better off as an addition to a family, despised by the first wife and her family***."
  • "Dad was so flustered (you know how telegrams excite him: they offend all his antiquarian instincts!) -- well, the Bishop said -- _Am sending my favourite curate to call on you magnificent young fellow excellent family very worthy chap will be in Wolverhampton a day or two anxious to have him meet your family_."
  • "For this is the form that every tabulation of family pedigree must assume; and therefore the mere fact that a scientific tabulation of natural affinities was eventually found to take the form of a tree, is in itself highly suggestive of the inference that such a tabulation represents a _family_ tree."