French Family Vocabulary

French family vocabularyHere you will learn how to say the members of the family in French (les membres de la famille). If you ever travel to France you will quickly discover that family values are very important to the French people. These vocab lists cover the immediate family, extended family, specific words for steps and in-laws as well as words concerning adoption, family trees and genealogy.

In French, “les parents” means both parents and relatives. Hence, “J’ai des parents à Marseille” would translate to “I have relatives in Marseille.

In addition to this list, you may also find the list at to be very helpful!

Immediate Family

  • father le père
  • mother la mère
  • son le fils
  • daughter la fille
  • brother le frère
  • sister la soeur
  • husband le mari
  • wife la femme, l’épouse
  • husband l’époux, le mari

Extended Family

  • grandparents les grand-parents
  • grandfather le grand-père
  • grandmother la grand-mère
  • great-grandfather l’arrière-grand-père
  • great-grandmother l’arrière-grand-mère
  • grandchildren les petits-enfants
  • grandson le petit-fils
  • granddaughter la petite-fille
  • uncle l’oncle
  • aunt la tante
  • great-uncle le grand-oncle
  • great-aunt la grand-tante
  • nephew le neveu
  • niece la nièce
  • male cousin le cousin
  • female cousin la cousine

In-laws & Step Family

When describing family members by marriage, the French do not distinguish between in-laws and step. For example, le beau-père means both father-in-law and step-father. La belle-famille refers to the in-laws.

  • parents-in-law les beaux-parents
  • father-in-law, step-father le beau-père
  • mother-in-law, step-mother la belle-mère
  • son-in-law, step-son le beau-fils
  • daughter-in-law, step-daughter la belle-fille
  • half-brother le demi-frère
  • half-sister la demi-soeur

Special French Family Words

French has some special family terms which are necessary to learn.

l’aîné – As a noun, l’ainé(e) means eldest child. As an adjective it means ‘older than’ or ‘your senior’.

  • Marie est l’ainee de la famille. Elle a 35 ans. Marie is the eldest child in the family. She’s 35 years-old.
  • Joseph est mon aîné de cinq ans. Joseph is five years older than me.

Le cadet – As a noun, le cadet/la cadette means the youngest child. As an adjective, it means younger. Le cadet can also refer to the second-born child.

  • Notre cadet habite encore à la maison. Our youngest child still lives at home.
  • Ma soeur cadette s’appelle Julie. My younger sister’s name is Julie.

Le benjamin – Le benjamin/la benjamine also refers to the youngest child in the family.

  • Sophie est la benjamine de la famille : elle n’a que trois ans. Sophie is the youngest in the family. She’s only three years-old.

Adoption & Fostering

  • adoptive fatherpère adoptif
  • adoptive mothermère adoptive
  • biological parents – les parents biologiques
  • biological father le père biologique
  • biological motherla mère biologique
  • foster familyla famille d’accueil 
  • foster motherla mère de la famille d’accueil
  • foster fatherle père de la famille d’accueil
  • godfather le parrain
  • godmother la marraine 
  • godson le filleul
  • goddaughter la filleule 

how to introduce family members

  • This my wife. Je vous présente ma femme.
  • This is my husband. Je vous présente mon mari.
  • These are my kids. Je vous présente mes enfants.
  • This is my daugher/son. Je vous présente ma fille/mon fils.
  • This is my sister/brother. Je vous présente ma soeur/mon frère.
  • This is my mother/father. Je vous présente mon père/ma mère.

Genealogy and Distant Relatives

Want to take things a bit further? Here’s a short list of words covering terms for distant relatives as well as genealogy terms.

  • genealogy la généalogie
  • direct line of descent la filiation
  • family tree un arbre généalogique
  • ancestry, bloodline, lineage l’ascendance (f)
  • generation une génération
  • ancestors les ancêtres, les aïeux
  • distant relative un(e) parent(e) éloigné(e)
  • relationship, kinship la parenté
  • first cousin un(e) cousin(e) germain
  • second cousin un(e) cousin(e) issu de germain
  • once removed au deuxième degré
  • paternal (adj) paternel(le)
  • maternal (adj) maternel(le)
  • DNA le AND
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