Languages › French 'Family' Vocabulary in French Vocabulaire Français de la Famille Share Flipboard Email Print Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images French Vocabulary Pronunciation & Conversation Grammar Resources For Teachers By Camille Chevalier-Karfis French Language Expert our editorial process Camille Chevalier-Karfis Updated September 30, 2019 If you're learning to speak French, you might find yourself talking about la famille among friends and relatives quite a lot. To simplify the learning for you, this article first introduces an overview of close and extended family members in French, then clarifies some of the common misconceptions and differences between the English and French expressions. Finally, you are presented with a sample dialogue on the topic of family. La Famille Proche (Close Family Members)As you will see, there are a few similarities between some of the English and French vocabulary about family that might help your understanding and memorization. You might also note commonalities between the two genders, as in some cases it is possible to simply add an "e" to the end of a word to change it from masculine to feminine.MasculineFeminineFrenchEnglishFrenchEnglishUn pèreFatherUne mèreMotherPapaDadMamanMomUn grand-pèreGrandfatherUne grand-mère(note no "e" at "grand")GrandmotherPapyGrandpaMamie, méméGrandmaArrière-grand-pèreGreat grandfatherArrière-grand-mèreGreat grandmotherUn épouxSpouseUne femme(pronounced "fam") SpouseUn mariHusbandUne épouseWifeUn enfantChildUne enfant(no "e")ChildUn fils("L" silent, "s" pronounced)SonUne filleDaughterUn petit-filsGrandsonUne petite-filleGranddaughterLes parentsParentsLes grandparentsGrandparentsLes petits-enfantsGrandchildren La Famille Etendue (Extended Family)MasculineFeminineFrenchEnglishFrenchEnglishUn oncleUncleUne tanteAuntUn cousinCousinUne cousineCousinUn cousin germainFirst cousinUne cousine germaineFirst cousinUn cousin issu de germainsSecond cousinUne cousine issue de germainsSecond cousinUn neveuNephewUne nièceNiece Famille par Mariage (Family by Marriage) / La Famille Recomposée (Blended Family)In French, step-family and family-in-law are labeled using the same terms: beau- or belle- plus that family member:MasculineFeminineFrenchEnglishFrenchEnglishUn beau-pèreStep-fatherFather-in-lawUne belle-mèreStep-motherMother-in-lawUn beau-frère, demi-frèreA half brotherA stepbrotherUne demi-soeur, une belle-soeurA half-sisterA stepsisterUn beau-frèreBrother-in-lawUne belle-soeurSister-in-lawUn beau-filsStep-sonUne belle-filleStep-daughterUn beau-fils, un gendreSon-in-lawUne belle-fille, une bruDaughter-in-lawLes beaux-parents, la belle-famille In-lawsFrench does not have a special word for a step-sibling. The dictionary would say un beau-frère and une belle-soeur or un demi-frère and une demi-soeur (the same as half-brother or half-sister), but in everyday French, you might also use a phrase like quasi frère or quasi soeur (almost brother, almost sister) or explain your relationship using your stepparent.Other Family TermsMasculineFeminineFrenchEnglishFrenchEnglishUn aînéOlder or oldest brotherThe first-born sonUne aînéeOlder or oldest sisterThe first-born daughterUn cadet A younger brotherThe second-born sonUne cadetteA younger sisterThe second-born daughterLe benjamin The youngest child in a familyLa benjamineThe youngest child in a family Parents vs. RelativesThe phrase les parents usually refers to the parents, as in "mom and dad." However, when used as generic terms, un parent and une parente, the meaning changes into that of a "relative."Using parent/parente can become confusing in some sentence structures. Note the use of the word des in the second sentence:Mes parents sont en Angleterre. My parents [my mom and dad] are in England.J’ai des parents en Angleterre. I have some relatives in England.Because of the confusion, French speakers don’t use un parent and une parente as often as English speakers do the word “relatives.” Instead, you will hear them use the word famille. It’s singular and feminine.Ma famille vient d’Alsace. My family is from Alsace.You may add the adjective éloigné(e) (distant) to make the distinction, as in: J’ai de la famille (éloignée) en Belgique. I have relatives in Belgium.Or, you can be more specific about identifying relationships, as in:J’ai un cousin aux Etats-Unis. I have a cousin in the U.S.J’ai un cousin éloigné aux Etats-Unis. I have a distant cousin in the U.S.In French, this means s/he is not necessarily a first cousin (child of a parent's sibling), but could be the person’s a second or third cousin.Common ConfusionsIt might also be a good reminder that the adjectives “grand” and “petit” in family vocabulary don’t pertain to people’s sizes. They are rather indicators of age.Similarly, the adjectives “beau” and “belle” don’t mean beautiful when describing family relationships, but are used for “in-law” or “step” family.Family Vocabulary in DialogueTo aid in learning French family vocabulary, you can view the terms we learned above in a simple dialogue, as in this example where Camille et Anne parlent de leurs familles (Camille and Ann are talking about their families).FrenchEnglish Camille: Et toi, Anne, ta famille est originaire d’où? Camille: What about you, Anne, where is your family from?Anne: Ma famille est américaine: Du côté de ma famille paternelle, j’ai des origines françaises, et des origines anglaises du côté maternelle.Anne: My family is American: French on my father's side and English on my mother's side.