American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.
- n. Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.
- n. All the members of a household under one roof.
- n. A group of persons sharing common ancestry. See Usage Note at collective noun.
- n. Lineage, especially distinguished lineage.
- n. A locally independent organized crime unit, as of the Cosa Nostra.
- n. A group of like things; a class.
- n. A group of individuals derived from a common stock: the family of human beings.
- n. Biology A taxonomic category of related organisms ranking below an order and above a genus. A family usually consists of several genera. See Table at taxonomy.
- n. Linguistics A group of languages descended from the same parent language, such as the Indo-European language family.
- n. Mathematics A set of functions or surfaces that can be generated by varying the parameters of a general equation.
- n. Chemistry A group of elements with similar chemical properties.
- n. Chemistry A vertical column in the periodic table of elements.
- adj. Of or having to do with a family: family problems.
- adj. Being suitable for a family: family movies.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The collective body of persons who form one household under one head and one domestic government, including parents, children, and servants, and as sometimes used even lodgers or boarders. In law husband and wife living together, and having no children, are sometimes deemed within the benefit of a statute as to families.
- n. Parents with their children, whether they dwell together or not; in a more general sense, any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins: often used in a restricted sense only of a group of parents and children founded upon the principle of monogamy.
- n. In a narrow use, the children of the same parents, considered collectively apart from the parents: as, they (a husband and wife) have a large family to care for; a family of children.
- n. In the most general sense, those who descend from a common progenitor; a tribe or race; kindred; lineage. Thus, the Israelites were a branch of the family of Abraham; the whole human race constitutes the human family.
- n. Hence Any group or aggregation of things classed together as kindred or related from possessing in common characteristics which distinguish them from other things of the same order. Thus, a body of languages regarded as representatives of a common ancestor, or as having come by gradual processes of alteration and divarication from the same original tongue, is called a family: as, the Indo-European family; the South African family.
- n. Specifically In scientific classifications, a group of individuals more comprehensive than a genus and less so than an order, based on fewer or less definite points of physical resemblance than the former, and on more or more definite ones than the latter. In zoölogy the name of a family now almost invariably ends in -idæ, which has the force of a patronymic. The prime divisions of a family are termed subfamilies, and end usually in -inæ. The prime associations of families are in some refinements of classification called superfamilies; there is no obvious distinction, however, between these and suborders. The recognition and definition of the family, as of other zoölogical groups, is entirely a matter of expert opinion, having no natural necessity for being; hence the wide difference among zoologists in their evaluation of the term. A modern family is usually less comprehensive than a genus as used in the last century. The use of the regular termination -idæ has done much to fix the valuation of the family more stably than that of either the genus or the order. Zoological families are considered as being approximately of the same grade in classification as the groups called orders in botany. Hence the word family is generally used by botanists as a synonym of order: as, order Ranunculaceœ, the crowfoot family. In cryptogamic botany the family is the prime division of the order or suborder, and the prime division of the family is the subfamily or tribe; but in some classifications the family is made to rank next below the tribe. The absolute rank of the family also varies with different authors, the family of one being the order of another, etc. The usual termination is -eæ (or-ei), but -aceæ (or -acei) is used as a family termination in some cases. See
- n. Course of descent; genealogy.
- n. Descent: especially, noble or respectable stock: as, a man of good family.
- n. A cluster of microscopic plants formed by the adherence of a number of individuals; a colony.
- Pertaining to or connected with the family.
- n. In petrography the term is used by Rosenbusch to embrace igneous rocks which are alike in composition and texture: as, the family of syenitic rocks; the family of essexite; the family of phonolitic rocks. In the quantitative system of classification (1902) it is suggested that the term be applied to a group of igneous rocks which are developed from the same parent magma by processes of differentiation — that is, any group of consanguineous rocks.
- n. countable A father, mother and their sons and daughters; also called nuclear family.
- n. countable A group of people related by blood, marriage, law, or custom.
- n. countable A kin, tribe; also called extended family.
- n. countable, biology, taxonomy A rank in the classification of organisms, below order and above genus; a taxon at that rank.
- n. countable A group of people who live together, or one that is similar to one that is related by blood, marriage, law, or custom, or members of one's intimate social group.
- n. countable Any group or aggregation of things classed together as kindred or related from possessing in common characteristics which distinguish them from other things of the same order.
- n. countable, music A group of instrument having the same basic method of tone production.
- n. countable, linguistics A group of languages believed to have descended from the same ancestral language.
- n. Used attributively.
- adj. Suitable for children and adults.
- adj. Conservative, traditional.
- adj. slang Homosexual.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The collective body of persons who live in one house, and under one head or manager; a household, including parents, children, and servants, and, as the case may be, lodgers or boarders.
- n. The group comprising a husband and wife and their dependent children, constituting a fundamental unit in the organization of society.
- n. Those who descend from one common progenitor; a tribe, clan, or race; kindred; house.
- n. Course of descent; genealogy; line of ancestors; lineage.
- n. Honorable descent; noble or respectable stock.
- n. A group of kindred or closely related individuals
- n. (Biol.) A group of organisms, either animal or vegetable, related by certain points of resemblance in structure or development, more comprehensive than a genus, because it is usually based on fewer or less pronounced points of likeness. In zoölogy a family is less comprehesive than an order; in botany it is often considered the same thing as an order.
- n. primary social group; parents and children
- n. a loose affiliation of gangsters in charge of organized criminal activities
- n. an association of people who share common beliefs or activities
- n. a person having kinship with another or others
- n. a social unit living together
- n. people descended from a common ancestor
- n. a collection of things sharing a common attribute
- n. (biology) a taxonomic group containing one or more genera
- From Latin familia, from famula ("female servant"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English familie, from Latin familia, household, servants of a household, from famulus, servant. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“We think she's better off as an addition to a family, despised by the first wife and her family***.”
“Dad was so flustered (you know how telegrams excite him: they offend all his antiquarian instincts!) -- well, the Bishop said -- _Am sending my favourite curate to call on you magnificent young fellow excellent family very worthy chap will be in Wolverhampton a day or two anxious to have him meet your family_.”
“For this is the form that every tabulation of family pedigree must assume; and therefore the mere fact that a scientific tabulation of natural affinities was eventually found to take the form of a tree, is in itself highly suggestive of the inference that such a tabulation represents a _family_ tree.”
“Having some faith in it, she arose immediately and made her wishes known to the family physician, that is, to the _family_, who kindly administered the remedy without delay.”
“Several years ago he related to the editor the history of the Rackrent family, and it was with some difficulty that he was persuaded to have it committed to writing; however, his feelings for "_the honour of the family_," as he expressed himself, prevailed over his habitual laziness, and he at length completed the narrative which is now aid before the public.”
“It also ordered that all the existing pensioners (including family pensioners) would also be eligible for the revised scale of pay and the consequent pension benefits as per GO No. Meanwhile, the Director of Collegiate Education has instructed all the Joint Directors of Collegiate Education to instruct the principals and secretaries of all aided colleges under their jurisdiction to accept the application for revision of pension \family pension with effect from January 1, 2006.”
“But if a humble domestic, one who imagines herself so obscure as to be of little service to a world which perhaps estimates her services almost as low as she does herself -- if such an individual may, besides the general influence of her character upon a family, be an indispensable aid in the work of sending forth to the world a host of female missionaries, equal, in the progress of less than two centuries, at the dawn of the millennium, to ninety millions, what may not be done by a sister in _a well ordered family_ -- one who is not only well educated and governed herself, but who educates and governs others well?”
“His family motto ... _our _family motto ... is 'Who dies, if Hartest live!”
“The family, wrote William Gouge in 1618, was "a school wherein the first principles and grounds of government and subjection are learned inferiours that cannot be subject in a family will hardly be brought to yield such subjection as they ought in Church or Commonwealth." [”
“Can the term "family values" in the America of the 21st century be recaptured to express natural love and joy between parent and child and not just a personnel political perspective?”
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