Words To Describe Family

With changing times, the definition of family has kept on changing. However, this term has usually been used to refer to the bunch of people you share your life with. No matter what the definition is in the present time, you would always use family for people who carry a special place in your heart. It always becomes difficult to describe something when you have a whole lot of emotions attached to it. Family is a support system for a person. You might call it an institution in itself, an institution that will always have your back. You go through a lot of ups and downs along with your family. Family members are those people who stick by your side through thick and thin. There might be a difference of opinions and a clash of perspectives, you might not talk to them for days altogether but if you end up in a mess, they are the ones your heart calls out to. Let’s get familiar with some words to describe family.

Words To Describe Family

Choosing a word to describe your family can be difficult. After all, you would want to create an authentic image of your family in the mind of the person you are describing it to. There is a range of words to describe the bond your family members share. You can also use some words to describe the family structure. A family’s current situation can also be described using some words. 

Here’s a curated list of words you can use for your family while talking about it with a new friend of yours or when you need a caption to post a “picture perfect” family photo on your social media. 

Picturing Bonds:

There are various words to describe the nature of the bonds that family members share. The extent and level of closeness vary from one family to another. Thus, it is important to choose the right word to open the lines to proper communication. You will not want to be misunderstood. 

  • Closely-knit: This word can be used to describe the kind of family who has uno nights every weekend. A family which makes sure that they have one meal of the day together. Rules on or not, the members always have time for each other. An example to use this phrase in a sentence can be “I have been brought up in a closely-knitted family”.
  • Nurturing: This word can be used for your family if each of the members helps the other to grow. When someone is down and out there’s another member available to cater to their needs. 
  • Sentimental: Does your family look like one right out of the tv soaps? Then, this adjective might fit right in. Be it a wedding or just an emotional movie, the members do not shy away from expressing their emotions through tears. Your family had also started shedding tears on your graduation day.
  • Reserved: Does your family gets invited to a function or a party less often? Have you never seen your family members randomly chatting with the people from the neighborhood about the weather? Then, your family might come under this category. This family is usually considered aloof. But the truth is, the members hardly have a conversation between themselves. 
  • Loving: This is a very simple word to describe one’s family. The members always show small gestures of love towards each other. They hug it out whenever there is an argument and put in unconditional efforts for the other members. 
  • Extraordinary: If you have seen your family go out of their way to help you or they have trusted you in the most difficult situations, then this is your confirmation that your family is extraordinary. Each member of the family is a superhero in their own way and they have figured out the concept of work-life balance impeccably. 
  • Illustrious: Every member of the family beats the other with their achievement. The family has been made of people who are each master in their own field. Everywhere your family goes it has been respected and appreciated.
  • Compliant: This word can be used whenever a family sticks by some rules and principles. Breakfast at 8:00 AM in the morning, dinner at 9:00 PM, deadline to reach home by; such a family can be described as compliant.
  • Love-hate: Most families can be said to be sharing a love-hate relationship. A family includes a group of people, thus there is always a chance that two might pick up an argument. The members can pull each other’s hair out but still be the first ones to wipe each other’s tears. 
  • Doting: Your family knows what you want even before you say it out loud. You are fed a bit extra and not just with any random dishes but your favorite ones. Your mistakes are easily forgiven and forgotten once you make a puppy face. Now, just admit that you have got a doting family. 
  • Happy: This might seem like a very simple word, but it is nevertheless a strong one. A word like this can be used for a family whose members love to be around each other and there are not a lot of bumps in their relationships. 

The relationship you share with your family can also be described using some negative words.

  • Detached: You find your family cooped up in their own world. You hardly see their faces throughout the day and have never been comfortable with sharing anything with them. If this is how the family situation looks for a long time, then it can be described as detached. Eg: “It’s been years since the last time I talked to my mother. I have been detached from my family ever since I left that country.”
  • Strained: A family shares a strained relationship when no matter how much effort you put in you end up arguing with them. More than a family, it now looks like a tug of war where one wants to win from the other over very silly things. 
  • Fraught: This word can be used to describe a family who is in the premature stage of a strained relationship. Even though some things might look fine but most of the days there’s complete chaos. ‘
  • Difficult: a family can be called difficult when adjusting with the family seems next to impossible. There might be a lot of restrictions on freedom or the family has an extreme sense of principles. Either way, this word indicates a tense situation within the family. 
  • Estranged: When the distance between the members of the family is so much that they haven’t talked for months, it is almost as if the family never existed. Then, it can be called an estranged family. 
  • Dysfunctional: As the name itself indicates, it means a family with it not functioning properly. A family might become dysfunctional because of various reasons. It might be because the couple doesn’t get along or the parents don’t get along with their children. It can also happen when there is some external factor that is affecting the family life. 
  • Tumultuous: This word describes the worst family decision. The chaos in the family is always visible without any break to it. So much so that the family has negative effects on one’s life.
  • Malicious: Some families, instead of helping each other out trying to ruin each other. These families never have any good intentions for the well-being of others and one can only grow if they choose to build up some distance from them. 
  • Annoying: Some families can be super annoying. They keep nagging you and always have to comment upon what you do. They can be also annoying in a way that they have picked up some embarrassing habits. 

Words Describing Family Structure:

Many words can be used to describe one’s family structure. Such a word forms a mental image of the family structure in the mind of the reader or listener. 

  • Nuclear Family: A nuclear family usually means a very small family which includes the couple and their children. Eg: “Growing in a nuclear family I missed out on the love of my extended family members.”
  • Blood: A family related by blood can include both paternal and maternal sides of the family. A person can be said to be a relative by blood when they are related to you by virtue of birth and not marriage.
  • Extended family: Excluding the members of a nuclear family, all other members make an extended family. This includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. 
  • In-Laws: The part of the extended family which is related to you by virtue of marriage are called in-laws. 
  • Matriarchal: Matriarchal family means when the mother’s side of the family is more dominant than the father’s side. Patriarchal family gives the opposite meaning.
  • Traditional Family: This family has traditional values. Maybe the family is very religious or they are very particular about their culture. They might also have a conservative frame of mind. 
  • Step Family: When at least one of the parents is not the biological parent of the child, then the child is said to belong to a stepfamily. Other words which can be used to describe a stepfamily are blended or bonus families. 

Words Which Can Describe Family Values:

Every family has a value system by which they abide; whether consciously or subconsciously. A family value speaks a lot about the members of the family and, thus can be used to paint a picture in mind.

  • Truth: There are many parents who while bringing up their child focus on the importance of truth. They inculcate this value in their child at a pretty young age. These families do not like being lied to or lied to. Eg: “The new family in the neighborhood has passed on the legacy of truthfulness to their children.”
  • Compassion: When the children see their parents being empathetic to other human beings and even to the needs of an animal, they learn how to be compassionate. Thus, in this way, a family value is passed on from generation to generation.
  • Hardworking: The virtue of hard work is instilled in most families to earn themselves a suitable livelihood. Thus, mentioning this value will bring in the factor of relatability in the conversation. 
  • Generosity: This is a noble value that can be brought about in oneself by simple observance and awareness. When a kid notices charitable habits in their parents, they inherit it. 

Describing the Circumstances of the Family: 

The societal standing of the family can be based on its socioeconomic status, background, occupation, and many other things. Thus, based upon these factors the circumstances of the family can be described.

  • Aristocratic Family: A family which has a special rank in the society and is a part of the elite class can be described as an aristocratic family.
  • Royal Family: A family which includes the successors of the rulers of the state is usually called the royal family. Alternatively, it can also be used for families who act like royalty. 
  • Influential Family: When the family has some power over the common man and can influence society in more ways than one, then the family can be termed as an influential family. The power might be formal power vested upon them which helps create an influence by law or personal power.
  • Struggling: When the members are working hard to make ends meet, a struggling family is usually referred to as a family which is yet to find its financial stability and is working for it. 
  • Well-known local: The family must have lived in the neighborhood for generations for everyone around knows them. Well-known locales can be used to describe such a family.

Describe a Family Reunion:

This is the time when the whole family meets and gets into the “picture business”. You surely must have saved a lot of pictures from your family reunion. If you are still wondering what are the words which can be used to describe those moments, then here’s a little something for you.

  • Joyous: Remember that family event where everyone was high on energy? There was never a dull moment and each member contributed to make it a happy day. This word can be easily used in a conversation and creates an impression of happiness and joy. 
  • Fun-filled: Usually, a family reunites to connect over some pre-planned or spontaneous activities. A day of a family reunion turns out to be fun-filled when the activities turn out to be a success. This is a great word that can be used as it is usually fun meeting the whole family after a long time. 
  • Cheerful: The word cheerful brings in a happy image of the family. It communicates to the person that it might have been a bright day and the members must have gathered around in the backyard, each of them being high-spirited.

Some other words to describe a family can be:

  • Beloved: A family who is always ready to help others, the ones who are always loved at a neighborhood backyard party. These people have created a place in the hearts of the people around them. 
  • Agreeable: Conversing with this family is always a pleasant experience. This bunch of people may not be loved but are surely liked by others.
  • Modest: The family is far away from showing off. They do not believe in being pretentious and are the decent and polite ones. 
  • Charming: This family knows their way around conversations. They have the ability to charm people, the word usually talks about a family who is always surrounded by people at a party. 

Migrant: As the word suggests, this family has migrated from a place to build their house in an alien city or even country in search of livelihood. 

Learn Concepts Involving Family: 

One way to develop your vocabulary to include words that can describe a family is to get an idea about the concepts which can be linked with a family. The more knowledge you have about such concepts, the more easily you can describe the family. 

Family Values: Every family is different in terms of its values. The core guiding principles can be used to understand a family and, thus it makes it easier to describe them.

Family Relationships: The kind of relationships family members share is what builds a family. The foundation of a family lies in the word together. Thus, it becomes important to study how the members are around each other to describe them. 

Family History: Finding out about where the family comes from is always relevant. Just like the roots of a person makes them what they are, similarly, a family also has its own roots. 

Tips to Describe a Family:

  • When you are about to describe a member of the family, you can clearly state the role played by them in the family. 
  • While you need to be honest about how the family picture looks, you might want to give it a positive shift. Positivity usually attracts people. 
  • Do not include a lot of adjectives as it might get monotonous. After a certain point, adjectives become irrelevant. 
  • The description itself means that going deep into a subject. Thus, only mentioning the words might not work. You should also include the reason why you feel that the word can be related to the family you are talking about. 
  • You do not have to make a list. Your description should further the story in some way while making a communication. Your description has to provide some input to the story. 
  • Because a bunch of people make a family, you also remind yourself of each one’s characteristics as that would always have an impact on how the family is on a whole.

You must be aware of the simple words which can be used for a family yet ignore them as you might be unsure. The list is built to give you an idea about how you can use descriptive terms by showing what each term might mean in relation to a family. However, this list is not even close to being exhaustive, there are many other words that can be related to a family. In a conversation or while writing, these are the words you might want to use this list of words to get a head start to your brainstorming. You need to be aware that adjectives, gerunds, adverbs can be used as descriptive words. This list has been divided into different categories to help you find your own words under each category. Families are a substantial part of life for most people thus it would be better if you avoid using any strong negative terminologies while addressing any family.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What does a happy family look like?

A happy family can be often spotted, spending time together. The members coming from such a family always love and support each other. It is visible that they get on well together. A happy family might be built by spending more time with each other and communicating. Once every member opens up their eyes to the other members’ perspectives it becomes easy to get along.

  1. What can be another word to describe a beautiful family?

A beautiful family is one that looks picture-perfect. Just looking at them would remind you of the word ‘together’. This family might seem to be without any flaws. Thus, some words which can be used to describe such a family can be perfect, picture-book, model, and ideal. 

  1. What do you mean by an ideal family?

A family can be called an ideal family when the members understand each other pretty well. The family rarely fought. This family spends time together and talks to each other on a daily basis. The members are always ready to help one another. This family has passed on some great family values. To sum up, an ideal family believes in the virtue of togetherness.

  1. What is the actual meaning of a family?

Family means having someone, who has loved you despite seeing your flaws. It is a bunch of people who rely upon and support one another when times are tough. These days, the meaning of family has evolved and doesn’t include only the biological family but also the people who have been with you through thick and thin.