Family Vocabulary in Spanish

Family is one of the first topics of conversation that will come up when you meet Spanish-speakers. Family is very important in Hispanic culture, and new Spanish-speaking acquaintances are always interested in learning about your family, too! If you are young, be prepared to tell about your parents and siblings - their age, jobs, and where they live - and if you look old enough to have children, expect to talk about them or explain why you don't have any... yet. It's a good idea to bring along photos to spark discussion.

One thing that makes learning this vocabulary a little bit simpler is that, sometimes, rather than learning different words for the female or male relatives, you can just change the ending. And, the masculine plural version can be used to refer to groups of males or males and females. The only time you would use the feminine plural version is if the group is all female.

Example:
Mis hermanos can mean either "my siblings" or "my brothers."
Mis hermanas can only mean "my sisters."

Some common family vocabulary:

Masculine FemininePlural
El padre [father] La madre [mother] Lospadres [parents]
El hermano [brother]La hermana [sister] Loshermanos [siblings]
El hijo [son]La hija [daughter]Loshijos [children]
El abuelo [grandfather]La abuela [grandmother]Losabuelos [grandparents]
El nieto [grandson] La nieta [granddaughter] Lasnietas [grandchildren]
El tío [uncle]Latía [aunt]Lostíos [aunts and uncles]
El sobrino [nephew]La sobrina [niece]Los sobrinos [nieces and nephews]
El primo [male cousin]La prima [female cousin]Los primos [cousins]
El esposo [husband]
El marido [husband]
La esposa [wife]
La mujer [wife]
El suegro [father-in-law]La suegra [mother-in-law]Los suegros [parents-in-law]
El cuñado [brother-in-law]La cuñada [sister-in-law]Los cuñados [siblings-in-law]
El padrastro [step-father]La madrastra [step-mother]Los padrastros [step-parents]
El hijastro [step-son] La hijastra [step-daughter]Los hijastras [step-children]
El hermanastro [step-brother]La hermanastra {step-sister} Los hermanastros [step-siblings]
El medio hermano [half-brother]La media hermana [half-sister] Los medios hermanos [half-siblings]

Notes:
Don't be tempted to use the word pariente to refer to parents - it means "relative," as in, any person who is related to you. The term los padres may seem like a strange way to refer to both el padre and la madre, but it is, indeed, the correct term for "parents."

You can use the term la familiapolitica to refer to "in-laws."


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