Family in Chinese: 51 Essential Chinese Family Vocabulary Words
To say that family is important in Chinese culture would be an understatement.
The concept of filial piety is a central component of Chinese culture, and has echoes in Chinese society to this day.
This, as you can imagine, means it’s important to get things right when referring to family members in Chinese.
From addressing your elders with respect to discussing relationships within your family, Chinese family words play a vital role in daily conversations.
Read on to learn 51 key family terms that will help you navigate the complex paths of familial connections in the Chinese language.
- Immediate Family Members
- Extended Family Members
- In-Laws and Relatives by Marriage
- How to Address Family Members
- More Chinese Family Vocabulary
- And One More Thing...
Immediate Family Members
Before we delve into in-laws and paternal and maternal family words, here are the eight most common and essential family words you need to know. These are the first words you should memorize!
- 父亲 (fù qīn) — Father
- 母亲 (mǔ qīn) — Mother
- 儿子 (ér zi) — Son
- 女儿 (nǚ ér) — Daughter
- 丈夫 (zhàng fu) — Husband
- 妻子 (qī zi) — Wife
- 兄弟 (xiōng dì) — Brother
- 姐妹 (jiě mèi) — Sister
Extended Family Members
|祖父||zǔ fù||Grandfather (paternal)|
|祖母||zǔ mǔ||Grandmother (paternal)|
|外祖父||wài zǔ fù||Grandfather (maternal)|
|外祖母||wài zǔ mǔ||Grandmother (maternal)|
|叔叔||shū shu||Uncle (paternal younger brother of father)|
|阿姨||ā yí||Aunt (paternal sister of father)|
|伯伯||bó bo||Uncle (paternal older brother of father)|
|婶婶||shěn shen||Aunt (paternal wife of father's older brother)|
|舅舅||jiù jiu||Uncle (maternal brother of mother)|
|姨妈||yí mā||Aunt (maternal sister of mother)|
|堂兄弟||táng xiōng dì||Cousin (paternal)|
|表兄弟||biǎo xiōng dì||Cousin (maternal)|
In-Laws and Relatives by Marriage
|姐夫||jiě fū||Sister's husband|
|妹夫||mèi fū||Younger sister's husband|
|姐婿||jiě xù||Husband of one's own sister|
|妹婿||mèi xù||Husband of younger sister|
|舅舅||jiù jiu||Mother's brother-in-law|
|姨夫||yí fū||Aunt's husband|
How to Address Family Members
You know who “mother” refers to, but you’d probably never call your mom that! So how do you actually address your family members? Use these terms:
|爷爷||yé ye||Paternal grandfather|
|奶奶||nǎi nai||Paternal grandmother|
|外公||wài gōng||Maternal grandfather (used in Southern China)|
|外公||wài gōng||Maternal grandmother (used in Southern China)|
|姥爷||lǎo ye||Maternal grandfather (used in Northern China)|
|姥姥||lǎo lao||Maternal grandmother (used in Northern China)|
|哥哥||gē ge||Older brother|
|弟弟||dì di||Younger brother|
|姐姐||jiě jie||Older sister|
|妹妹||mèi mei||Younger sister|
More Chinese Family Vocabulary
Keep the conversation rolling with some more vocabulary words related to families.
|亲爱 的||qīn ài de||Dear (term of endearment)|
|亲情||qīn qíng||Famile affection|
|家庭活动||jiā tíng huó dòng||Family activity|
|家庭聚会||jiā tíng jù huì||Family gathering|
|家人||jiā rén||Family members|
|合家团圆||hé jiā tuán yuán||Family reuinion|
|祖传||zǔ chuán||Inherited from ancestors|
|照顾||zhào gù||Take care of|
Learn more family words or practice the ones on this list through a program like FluentU, which teaches Chinese through a combination of native Chinese-language videos and multimedia learning tools.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Family vocab woes will be a thing of the past once you’ve learned all these Chinese family vocabulary words!
And One More Thing...
If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.
FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.