Family In French (Complete Family Members Vocabulary List)

How do you say family in French and what are some vocabulary words for French family members?

The French word for family is “la famille” (pronounced “la famij” or “la fam-ee”). Vocabulary words for family members are: la mère (mother), le père (father), la soeur (sister), le frère (brother), la fille (daugher), le garçon (son), la tante (aunt), l’oncle (uncle), la grand-mère (grandmother) and le grand-père (grandfather).

This page will explain how to say the French family members (les membres de la famille) in detail. If you ever travel to France you will quickly discover that family values are very important to the French people.

These vocabulary 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” translates to “I have relatives in Marseille.

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

How to pronounce famille in French

The French word for family is “la famille”. A very common mistake is for people to pronounce the LL’s. Do not pronounce the LL’s.

The LL’s sound like “ee” as in feet. Hence the pronunciation sounds like “fa-mee”. Here are some samples of how to pronounce famille correctly on Forvo.

This quick video also does a great job teaching the proper pronunciation.

French vocabulary for the immediate family

The following list is for the members of the immediate family. The “è” on the words père (father), mère (mother) and frère (brother) has an “eh” sound.

The pronunciation of soeur is quite tricky. Here are some samples of how to pronounce seour on Forvo.

For the word fille (daughter), don’t pronounce the LL’s. The pronunciation of fille is “fee”, with a slight y sound at the end. Here are some samples of how to pronounce fille on Forvo.

  • 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

French extended family members

The following is a list of extended family members. Notice that the word for grandmother is “la grand-mère”. Be sure not to add an -e to “grand” to make it feminine. This would be a mistake.

For the great grandparents, attached the word “arrière”. Hence, “arrière-grand-père” is great grandfather and “arrière-grand-mère” is great grandmother.

  • 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

French vocabulary for the in-laws and step family

French vocabulary for the in-laws and step family can become quite confusing. La belle-famille refers to the in-laws.

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.

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Interestingly, “le demi-frère” translates to both half brother and step brother. Logically, “la demi-soeur” translates to half sister and step sister.

  • 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, step brother le demi-frère
  • half-sister, step sister la demi-soeur

Special words for the family

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 and fostering

The following list covers adoption and fostering. French culture places a heavy emphasis on the parents.

Hence, you’ll often hear French people referring to “mon parrain” (my godfather) and “ma marraine” (my godmother.

  • 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

The following list of short phrases can come in handy for introducing family members in social situations.

“Je vous présente” is formal and translates to “I introduce you to”. The informal version for people you know better is “Je te présent”.

  • 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

If you are traveling to France with the intention of looking for distant relatives the following list covering genealogy and family trees will come in handy.

  • 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

Family in French – Summary Table

Here are ways of saying family members in French organized by each person with comments and pronunciation tips.

FrenchEnglishComments
la famillefamilyPronounced "la fam-ee". Don't pronounce the LL's.
la mère motherè is pronounced "eh". This is the accent grave.
le père fatherè is pronounced "eh". This is the accent grave. Pronunciation clip here.
le frèrebrotherè is pronounced "eh". This is the accent grave.
la soeursisterPronunciation clip here.
le filssonPronounced "le fees". Don't say the -L.
la filledaughterPronounced "la fee-ya" with a slight ya. Pronunciation clip here.
la grand-mèregrandmotherDo not add an -e to grand.
le grand-pèregrandfatherPronunciation clip here.
l'oncleunclePronunciation clip here.
la tanteauntPronunciation clip here.
le cousin, la cousinecousinPresented both masculine and feminine forms. Cousin: nasal "in"; Cousine: pronounce the -n.
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