Russian Words: Family Members

Image of a family having a meal outside

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Family is very important in Russian culture. Many families are composed of several generations living under one roof, often in compact apartments, and children can continue to live with their parents long into their twenties, thirties, and even forties. As a Russian learner, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the different names used for all members of the group, including in-laws and extended family.

Russian Word Translation Pronunciation Example
мама mom MAmah Мама, я приезжаю завтра - Mom, I'm arriving tomorrow.
папа dad PApah Папа, это мой друг Джон - Dad, this is my friend John.
бабушка grandmother BAbushka Моей бабушке девяносто лет - My grandmother is 90 years old.
дедушка/дед grandfather DYEdushka/DYED Мой дедушка сражался с фашистами - My grandfather fought the Nazis.
тётя aunt TYOtya Позови свою тётю, пожалуйста - Call your aunt, please.
дядя uncle DYAdya Мой дядя - писатель - My uncle is a writer.
сестра sister sysTRA Моя сестра занимается бальными танцами - My sister does ballroom dancing.
брат brother BRAT Мой брат играет на кларнете - My brother plays the clarinet.
двоюродная сестра cousin (female) dvaYUradnaya sysTRA Моя двоюродная сестра позвонила в понедельник - My cousin rang on Monday.
двоюродный брат cousin (male) dvaYUradny BRAT Я еду в гости к своему двоюродному брату - I am going to visit my cousin.
троюродный брат/троюродная сестра second cousin male/second cousin female traYUradny BRAT/traYUradnaya sysTRA Они - мои троюродные братья и сестры - These are my second cousins.
тёща mother-in-law (wife's mother) TYOsha Я люблю свою тёщу - I love my mother-in-law.
тесть father-in-law (wife's father) TYEST' У меня хорошие отношения с тестем - I have a good relationship with my father-in-law.
свекровь mother-in-law (husband's mother) svyKROF' Мы едем к свекрови - We are going to visit my mother-in-law.
свёкр father-in-law (husband's father) SVYOkr Мой свёкр любит футбол - My father-in-law loves soccer.
сноха daughter-in-law (in relation to the mother-in-law) snaHA Я жду сноху и сына - I'm waiting for my daughter-in-law and my son.
зять son-in-law (both for mother-in-law and father-in-law) ZYAT' Надо поговорить с зятем - I should/I need to talk to my son-in-law.
невестка daughter-in-law (in relation to the father-in-law); sister-in-law (brother's wife) nyVYESTka Мы едем в отпуск с невесткой - We are going on holiday with my/our daughter-in-law/sister-in-law.
золовка sister-in-law (husband's sister) zaLOVka У моей золовки трое детей - My sister-in-law has three children.
деверь brother-in-law (husband's brother) DYEver' Мой деверь - юрист - My brother-in-law is a lawyer.
свояченица sister-in-law (wife's sister) svaYAchenitsa Мне позвонила свояченица - My sister-in-law called me.
шурин brother-in-law (wife's brother) SHOOrin У шурина проблемы на работе - My brother-in-law is having issues at his work.
сватья mother of daughter-in-law/son-in-law SVAT'ya Завтра приезжает сватья - The mother of my daughter-in-law will arrive tomorrow.
сват father of daughter-in-law/son-in-law svat Сват любит рыбачить - My daughter-in-law's father loves to go fishing.
свояк

sibling-in-law (husband of a woman's sister)

svaYAK Здравствуй, свояк - Hello, brother. (as in 'you're family')
крёстные/крёстная мать/крёстный отец godparents/godmother/godfather KRYOSnye/KRYOSnaya MAT'/KRYOSny aTYETS Это - мои крёстные - These are my god-parents.
кумовья/кум/кума godparents (in relation to all other relatives) KoomaVYA / KOOM / kooMA А что думают кумовья? - And what do the godparents think?
племянница niece plyMYAnitsa Моя племянница поступила в университет - My niece has gotten into college.
племянник nephew plyMYAnnik Мы едем с племянником в Москву - My nephew and I are going to Moscow together.

How to Say Mom and Dad in Russian

The most common way to address your parents in Russian is to say "мама" and "папа." You can also say "мать" (MAT') - "Mother," and "отец" (aTYEts) - "Father", as well as "мамочка" (MAmachka) - Mommy and "папочка" (PApachka) - "Daddy".

Example: Моя мамочка - самая лучшая.
Pronunciation: maYA MAmachka - SAmaya LOOCHshaya.
Translation: My Mommy is the best.

Example: Я не вижусь с отцом.
Pronunciation: ya ny VYzhus' satTSOM
Translation: I don't see my father.

Diminutives for Family Members

Diminutives are used a lot in Russian, and the names of family members are not an exception. Diminutives are formed by changing the ending of a word.

Example: мама - мамочка - мамуля - мамулечка - мамусик
Pronunciation: MAma - MAmachka - maMOOlya - maMOOlychka - maMOOsik
Translation: Mom - Mommy - diminutives of "Mommy"

Example: тётя - тётушка - тётенька
Pronunciation: TYOtya - TYOtushka - TYOtynka
Translation: Aunt - Aunty - Aunty