Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


The trouble is that we've just had to cut that fine old New York family off our list.

No one of our kindred must enter the family of Pericles as a slave.

While I have gathered foreign jewels, I have been ignorant of the gems in my own family.

Here, perchance, may be found a clue in symbol to the family strife.

If the worst came, he could go West with the family and learn how to do something.

The home of the Birkenholt family was not one of the least delightful.

You used to support your family comfortably when you had one.

This Mauburn isn't good enough for your family, but you reckon he's good enough for me?

He said "It is Light" and he used the rays of the early sun to gather food for his family.

Every family lived and hunted and worked and died for and by itself.


early 15c., "servants of a household," from Latin familia "family servants, domestics collectively, the servants in a household," thus also "members of a household, the estate, property; the household, including relatives and servants," from famulus "servant," of unknown origin. The Latin word rarely appears in the sense "parents with their children," for which domus (see domestic) was used.

In English, sense of "collective body of persons who form one household under one head and one domestic government, including parents, children, and servants, and as sometimes used even lodgers or boarders" [Century Dictionary] is from 1540s. From 1660s as "parents with their children, whether they dwell together or not," also in a more general sense, "persons closely related by blood, including aunts, uncles, cousins;" and in the most general sense "those who descend from a common progenitor" (1580s). Meaning "those claiming descent from a common ancestor, a house, a lineage" is early 15c. Hence, "any group of things classed as kindred based on common distinguishing characteristics" (1620s); as a scientific classification, between genus and order, from 1753.

Replaced Old English hiwscipe. As an adjective from c.1600; with the meaning "suitable for a family," by 1807. Family values first recorded 1966. Phrase in a family way "pregnant" is from 1796. Family circle is 1809; family man "man devoted to wife and children, man inclined to lead a domestic life" is 1856 (earlier it meant "thief," 1788, from family in a slang sense of "the fraternity of thieves").

The phrase is attested from 1844.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.