Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

family

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun family pronunciation in British English /ˈfæm(ə)li/ 
Word Forms
Close
singularfamily
pluralfamilies
  1. 1
    [countable] a group of people who live together and are related to one another, usually consisting of parents and children: can be followed by a singular or plural verb

    A family with two children live next door.

    Is the Watson family going to be there?

    He grew up in a large working-class family.

    single-parent/two-parent family:

    Single-parent families are increasingly common.

    a family of four/five etc:

    The tent is big enough for a family of six.

    1. a.
      [countable] a group of people who are all related to one another, including dead members of the group: can be followed by a singular or plural verb

      Does your family have any history of heart disease?

      She did not want the property to go to anyone outside the family.

      be in someone's/the family (=belong to that family):

      The boatyard had been in his family for four generations.

    2. b.
      [uncountable] people who are related to you: can be followed by a singular or plural verb

      We spent the holiday period visiting family in Scotland.

      We ought to help him – after all, he is family.

      friends and family/family and friends:

      We had Christmas lunch in the company of family and friends.

      one of the family:

      He's like one of the family.

  2. 2
    [countable] children in a family: can be followed by a singular or plural verb

    The soldier had a wife and family.

    start/have a family (=have children):

    They want to get married and start a family.

    bring up/raise a family:

    It's difficult raising a family on one salary.

phrase

creep

used with other nouns to describe the unexpected and often unwanted effects of a particular situation or trend

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

sandwich woman

a woman in middle age who has to juggle caring for teenage children and ageing parents with a career

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog