60 French Family Terms & Expressions

Author: Hélène

Learn the French family vocabulary and also some fun family French idioms. Do you know what “il ne faut pas pousser Mémé dans les orties” means? Find out!

Hi. My name is Helen and I’m a French immersion teacher with French Today in Lyon.

Recently, I wrote an article about my family vacation in Martinique (see picture above), and Camille asked me to illustrate it with the French vocabulary for the family. But I provided such a complete list that Camille said it was worth doing a whole article about it.

So here is the French vocabulary list for the family – if you think of more French family words, please add them in the Disqus comment section below in French and English, and Camille will add them to this list! Merci !

French Family Vocabulary

  1. la famille – family
  2. la famille recomposée – stepfamily
  3. la famille monoparentale – single-parent family
  4. la famille homoparentale – homoparental family
  5. les membres de la famille – family members
  6. la famille élargie – extended family
  7. la belle-famille – family-in-law
  8. le mari – husband
  9. la femme – wife
  10. les parents – parents : like in English: Mom and Dad but also family members, kinfolks…
  11. le père/ papa – father/ dad(dy)
  12. la mère/ maman – mother/ mum(my)
  13. les enfants – children
  14. le fils – son
  15. la fille – daughter
  16. le frère – brother
  17. la sœur – sister
  18. l’aîné(-e) – the eldest
  19. le cadet (m)/ la cadette (f) – the younger, youngest
  20. le/la benjamin(-e) – the youngest
  21. les jumeaux (m)/ les jumelles (f) – twins
  22. les triplé(-e)s – triplets
  23. le demi-frère – half-brother or stepbrother
  24. la demi-soeur – half-sister or stepsister
  25. le beau-père – father-in-law or stepfather
  26. la belle-mère – mother-in-law or stepmother
  27. le beau-fils – son-in-law or stepson
  28. la belle-fille – daughter-in-law or stepdaughter
  29. le beau-frère – brother-in-law
  30. la belle-soeur– sister-in-law
  31. les grands-parents – grandparents
  32. le grand-père/ pépé/ papy – grandfather/ grandpa
  33. la grand-mère/mémé/mamy – grandmother/ grandma
  34. les petits-enfants – grandchildren
  35. le petit-fils – grandson
  36. la petite-fille – granddaughter
  37. les arrière-grands-parents – great grandparents
  38. l’arrière-grand-père – great grandfather
  39. l’arrière-grand-mère – great grandmother
  40. les arrière-petits-enfants – great grandchildren
  41. l’arrière-petit-fils – great grandson
  42. l’arrière-petite-fille – great granddaughter
  43. l’oncle/ tonton – uncle
  44. la tante/ tata – aunt/ auntie
  45. le neveu – nephew
  46. la nièce – niece
  47. le cousin – cousin (m)
  48. la cousine – cousin (f)
  49. le cousin germain/ la cousine germaine – first cousin
  50. le cousin issu de germain/ la cousine issue de germaine – second cousin
  51. les proches – relatives

The French family vocabulary is listed with audio and illustrated within the story of Camille’s beginner level audiobook method.

À Moi Paris Audiobook Method

A new approach to learning both traditional and modern French logically structured for English speakers.

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French Family Idioms

  1. laver son linge sale en famille – lit. to wash your dirty laundry in family : to settle conflicts in private
  2. être prêt à vendre père et mère pour… quelque chose – lit. to be ready to sell mom and dad for… : to betray by interest
  3. avoir un air de famille – to have some similarities
  4. être le parent pauvre – lit. to be the poor parent : to be the forgotten one
  5. une âme-soeur – a soul mate
  6. Un peu, mon neveu! – colloquial. Lit. A bit my nephew! Meaning: of course! Needless to say!
  7. Il ne faut pas pousser mémé dans les orties! – Lit. you shouldn’t push Grandma in the nettles: you must not exaggerate!
  8. C’est de famille! – It runs in the family!
  9. être de bonne famille – to be born into a well-educated family
  10. une famille de mots – a word family
Author: Hélène


Bonjour ! My name is Hélène, I'm a French immersion teacher in Lyon. Come experience a real French lifestyle, discover my region and my family. I would be happy to show you our beautiful region, teach you French and share our daily life with you.

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