Family Vocabulary

While you’re describing a member of your family, be clear in describing the role played by that particular member in your household. The family vocabulary below will help you do just that. Be descriptive and analytical. We recommend talking about that person’s interests and hobbies, likes and dislikes. Check out these positive personalities traits.

Family Vocabulary -tree

Birth Family

  • grandfather / grandmother – Do you remember your (paternal, maternal) grandmothers and grandfathers? (grandmother: gran, granny, grandma) (grandfather: grandpa, grandad)
  • great/grandchild – She has four great-grandchildren and two granddaughters is very happy to be alive and to have met them all!
  • mother – Mother knows best, or at least that’s what my mother always said.
  • father – He looks just like his father.
  • parents – All of us have two biological parents. Some people grow up with adopted parents. (Birth parents are called biological parents)
  • daughter – His daughter is a dentist.
  • son – He has two sons. The oldest is 8 and the youngest is one week old.
  • brother – My brother lives in Oslo.
  • sister – His sister drove him crazy with her constant complaining about the parents.
  • stepfather, stepmother – She gets along wither her stepfather, but she prefers to not call him “Dad.”
  • stepdaughter, stepson – If you marry him, you’ll have two stepdaughters and one stepson.
  • half-brother/sister – We have the mother, but different fathers.
  • twin – It’s amazing how similar some twins are. They look, act, and talk alike.
  • uncle – My uncle lives in Paris. He’s nothing like my mother.
  • aunt – Her favorite auntie is coming to town.
  • niece – His niece works in a tech company in Washington State selling solar batteries.
  • nephew – I have a nephew who lives in town. It’s nice to have lunch every once in a while.
  • first/second/third cousin – His mother is my cousin.

Becoming Family

Marital Relationships – Marital Status

  1. Engagement period
    • the bride-to-be is called a fiancee
    • the groom-to-be is called a fiance (pronounced the same)
  2. On the wedding day
    • the woman is called a bride
      • the bride will accompanied by her bridesmaid
    • the man is called a groom
      • the groom will accompanied by his bestman
  3. After the wedding couple is legally married (neutral term: spouse)
    • The bride is now the wife
    • The groom is now the husband
Bride and groom holding hands
Bride and Groom holding hands

Marriage vs Wedding

Wedding is the day you get married – Marriage is the institution. 

It is customary for the bride and groom to have a party hosted by their friends the night before the big day. In England the bride’s party is called a hen party, and groom’s party is called a stag do. In the US it is called a bacherlorette and bachelor party, respectfully.

  • Single: He’s a single man living in New York.
  • Engaged: Helen is engaged to be married next June. She’s making plans for the wedding.
  • Married: I’ve been married for over 25 years. I consider myself lucky.
  • husband – She sometimes argues with her husband, but that happens in every marriage.
  • ex-husband – She divorced her ex-husband because he cheated on her.
  • wife – My wife is the most amazing woman in the world because she puts up with me.
  • ex-wife – His ex-wife is – Many people don’t get along with their in-laws. Others are happy to have a new family!
  • son-in-law, daughter-in-law – Her daughter-in-law told her to mind her own business.
  • Separated: In many countries, couples must be separated for more than a year in order to      divorce.
  • Divorced: Jennifer is divorced,      but she’s happy to be single again.
  • widow – She became a widow 20 years ago and never remarried.
  • widower – The widower is working through his grief with the help of a shrink.
  • Widowed: Hank became widowed last year. He hasn’t been the same since.