How to say 40 top family members in French for a full family tree

Elinor Zucchet

In French, we have a saying: “La famille, c’est sacré”. And while we don’t choose our family, chances are they’re important to you — when they don’t drive you crazy!

With this in mind, here is an article on family members in French. Knowing how to say “Mom” in French or “Aunt” in French will come handy in a variety of situations:

  • When getting to know somebody, it’s natural to talk about family at some point.
  • When introducing a family member to a French speaking friend.
  • When giving an excuse at work, if you work in a francophone country. “Ma fille est malade”.
  • If you want to show off with your French skills at the next family reunion.
  • To contact potential long lost relatives living in French speaking countries.

Family in French

The French word for “family” is pretty close to English. The singular form is “famille”, and plural “familles”. If you want to sound cool, you can use slang words like “mif”, “mifa” and “millefa”. You’ll find more beautiful and cool expressions in French here.

To get the plural, just add an “s” at the end in most cases. Some exceptions include “neveux”, (nephews), “époux” (husband/husbands/spouses) and “fils” (son and sons).

Immediate family members in French

Ever wondered how to say “dad” in French? Let’s start with the immediate family members in French!

Brothers, sisters and family members in French.

English French IPAContext
MotherMèremɛɾə
MomMamanmamɑ̃
FatherPèrepɛɾə
DadPapapapa
ParentsParentspaɾɑ̃
SiblingsFrères et sœursfɾɛɾəz‿e sœɾ*There is no word for “sibling” in French.
BrotherFrèrefɾɛɾə
SisterSœursœɾ
SonFilsfil
DaughterFillefijə
WifeÉpouse/Femmeepuzɛ/fɛməÉpouse is more formal
HusbandÉpoux/Mariepuks/maɾiÉpoux is more formal

*Use “frères” for brothers, “sœurs” for sisters and “frères et sœurs” if you have both.

Extended family in French

If you’re working on building your family tree and want to spice things up with some French learning, this table should be helpful. De rien !

Grandfather and grandmother in French.

English French Singular IPA
GrandmotherGrand-mèregɾɑ̃-mɛɾə
GrandfatherGrand-pèregɾɑ̃-pɛɾə
GrandparentsGrands-parentsgɾɑ̃-paɾɑ̃
Female cousinCousinekuzinə
Male cousinCousinkuzɛ̃
AuntTantetɑ̃tə
UncleOncleõklə
NieceNiècenjɛsə
NephewNeveunəvø
Great-grandparentArrière-grand-parentarjɛɾə-gɾɑ̃-paɾə
Great-grandmotherArrière-grand-mèrearjɛɾə-gɾɑ̃-mɛɾə
Great-grandfatherArrière-grand-pèrearjɛɾə-gɾɑ̃-pɛɾə
Great-AuntGrand-tantegɾɑ̃-tɑ̃tə
Great-UncleGrand-onclegɾɑ̃d‿-õklə
Great-great-grandmotherArrière-arrière-grand-mèrearjɛɾ-arjɛɾə-gɾɑ̃-mɛɾə
Great-great-grandfatherArrière-arrière-grand-pèrearjɛɾ-arjɛɾə-gɾɑ̃-pɛɾə
GrandsonPetit-filspəti-fil
GranddaughterPetite-fillepətitə-fijə
GrandchildrenPetits-enfantspətiz‿-ɑ̃fɑ̃

Family members by marriage - Step and in-laws

Ah, the steps and in-laws… It’s already confusing in one language, so let’s make it fun with a second one! And if you enjoy being lost in translation, don’t miss this hilarious multilingual scene from the TV show Frasier.

English French Singular IPA
StepmomBelle-mèrebɛlə-mɛɾə
StepdadBeau-pèrebo-pɛɾə
Step-sisterDemi-sœurdəmi-sœɾ
Step-brotherDemi-frèredəmi-fɾɛɾə
Parents-in-lawBeaux-parentsbo-paɾɑ̃
Mother-in-lawBelle-mèrebɛlə-mɛɾə
Father-in-lawBeau-pèrebo-pɛɾə
Daughter-in-lawBelle-fillebɛlə-fijə
Son-in-lawBeau-filsbo-fil

Other family-related terms in French

With the table below, you should be able to explain your family situation, whatever it is — or almost.

Family in French, pose for a photo.

English French Singular IPA
AdoptedAdopté(e)adɔpte(ɛ)
SurrogateMère porteusemɛɾə pɔɾtøzə
TwinsJumeauxʒymo
TripletsTripléstɾiple
SpouseConjoint(e)kõʒwɛ̃t(ɛ)
PartnerPartenairepaɾtənɛɾə
De facto partnerPartenaire de faitpaɾtənɛɾə də fe
EngagedFiancé(e)fjɑ̃se(ɛ)
MarriedMarié(e)maɾje(ɛ)
SeparatedSéparé(e)sepaɾe(ɛ)
DivorcedDivorcé(e)divɔɾse(ɛ)
WidowVeuf(ve)vœf(vɛ)
Foster momMère adoptive/Mère d’accueilmɛɾ adɔptivɛ/mɛɾə dakœj
Foster dadPère adoptif/Père d’accueilpɛɾ adɔptif/pɛɾə dakœj
Foster childEnfant adoptif/Enfant placé en famille d’accueilɑ̃fɑ̃t‿ adɔptif/ɑ̃fɑ̃ plaseɑ̃ famijə dakœj
GodmotherMarrainemarɛnə
GodfatherParrainparɛ̃
GodsonFilleulfijœl
GoddaughterFilleulefijœlə
BabyBébébebe
ToddlerTout-petit/Enfant en bas âgetu-pətit/ɑ̃fɑ̃t‿ɑ̃ baz‿ ɑʒə
TweenJeuneʒœnə
TeenagerAdolescentadɔlɛssə
AdultAdulteadyltə
RelativeParent/prochepaɾɑ̃t/pɾɔʃə
AncestorsAncêtresɑ̃sɛtɾə
GenerationGénérationʒeneɾasjõ
Youngest childBenjaminbɑ̃ʒamɛ̃
Eldest childAîné(e)ne
Middle childCadetkade
Legal guardianTuteur légaltytœɾ legal

Talking about family in day to day situations

When you talk about your family, small talk is natural – so we’ll help get you prepared. You can find a refresher on French numbers here so you can confidently talk about ages, plus a few examples of other conversational small talk phrases about family.

Common conversation

  1. Question. Combien de frères et sœurs as-tu ? (How many brothers and sisters do you have?)
    Answer. J’ai une grande sœur et un petit frère. (I have a big sister and a little brother.)
  2. Question. As-tu une grande famille ? (Do you have a big family?)
    Answer. Je suis l’aîné de six enfants. (I am the eldest of six children.)
  3. Question. As-tu des enfants ? (Do you have children?)
    Answer. Non, je n’ai pas d’enfants, je vis avec mon conjoint et nous avons un chien. (No, I don’t have children, I live with my spouse and we have a dog.)

Age

  1. Ma soeur a 17 ans.
    (My sister is 17 years old.)
  2. Mon petit frère va avoir 6 ans, il a commencé l’école primaire.
    (My little brother is going to be 6 years old, he started primary school.)
  3. Mon chat a 1 an et mon lapin a 2 ans.
    (My cat is 1 and my rabbit is 2.)
    If you have other pets, check out more animals in French you can learn to say.


Describing your family in French

  1. Ma mère et moi avons les yeux verts, mais ma sœur et mon père ont les yeux marrons.
    (My mother and myself have green eyes but my sister and my father have brown eyes.)
    More colors in French here.
  2. J’ai les cheveux frisés et châtains de mon père, mais ma mère est blonde aux cheveux raides
    (I have my father’s curly brown hair, but my mother is blonde with straight hair.)
    More anatomy parts in French this way.
  3. Je suis grand comme mon père, mais mes frères sont petits.
    (I’m tall like my father, but my brothers are short.)
  4. Mon mari a un jumeau.
    (My husband has a twin.)

Bonus video inspiration: How to talk about family in French

Family Life in France | Easy French 85

As you can see in this video, French people are very inspired when talking about their family… or not!

Parler de la famille en français

Looking for a more traditional lesson on “cousin” in French, “son” in French, etc? Check out this video created by a lovely famille française.

Family-related French idioms

The most famous French saying related to family is probably: “Laver son linge sale en famille”. The literal translation is: “To wash one’s dirty laundry in the family”, and it means to discuss issues in private. But where does this expression come from?

Well, it goes back to the XIXth century. Back then, women would go to the communal wash house to do laundry while sharing the latest gossip. But writer Honoré de Balzac thought that some topics should not be discussed in public. In his famous novel “Eugénie Grandet”, he states that dirty laundry should only be washed in the family.

Ready to talk about your famille in French?

Awesome! Of course, there is family we get by blood and family we choose, like close friends. Listen to this beautiful song from beloved French singer Jean-Jacques Goldman: Tu es de ma famille and try to understand the lyrics. And if you need a coup de pouce, you can read our fun and free French vocabulary lesson blog or book online French lessons!

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