American English

Definition of family noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//ˈfæməli//
    (pl. families)
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  1. 1[singular] a group consisting of one or two parents and their children the other members of my family Almost every family in the country owns a television. My whole family enjoys skiing. one-parent/single-parent families a family of four families with young children He's a friend of the family (= he is known and liked by the parents and the children). see also blended family, nuclear family
  2. 2[singular, uncountable] a group consisting of one or two parents, their children and close relations The whole family came to Grandpa's eightieth birthday party. The support of family and friends is vital. We've only told the immediate family (= the closest relations). I always think of you as one of the family. (informal) She's family (= she is a relation). see also extended family
  3. 3[countable] all the people who are related to each other, including those who are now dead Some families have farmed in this area for hundreds of years. This painting has been in our family for generations.
  4. 4[countable, uncountable] a couple's or a person's children, especially young children They have a large family. I addressed it to Mr. and Mrs. Jones and family. Do they plan to start a family (= have children)? to bring up/raise a family Topic CollocationsChildrenhaving a baby/child want (to have) a baby/a child/children/kids start a family conceive/be expecting/be going to have a baby/child miss your period become/get/ be/find out that you are pregnant have a baby/a child/kids/a son/a daughter/twins/a family have a normal/a difficult/an unwanted pregnancy; an easy/a difficult birth/labor be in/go into/induce labor have/suffer/cause a miscarriage give birth to a child/a baby/a daughter/a son/twinsparenting bring up/raise a child/a family care for/watch a baby/child/kid change a diaper/a baby nurse/feed/breastfeed/bottle-feed a baby be entitled to/go on maternity/paternity leave go back/return to work after maternity leave need/find/get a babysitter/high-quality, affordable childcare/a nanny balance/combine work and childcare/child-rearing/family (life) educate/teach/home-school a child/a kid/children punish/discipline/spoil a child/a kid/children adopt/foster a baby/a child/a kid/children offer a baby for/put a baby up for adoption be placed with/be raised by foster parents
  5. 5[countable] a group of related animals and plants; a group of related things, especially languages Lions belong to the cat family. the Germanic family of languages
  6. Idioms
    (be/get) in the family way (old-fashioned) (informal)
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    (to be/become) pregnant
    run in the family
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    to be a common feature in a particular family Heart disease runs in the family.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: family