38 Family Words in Spanish to Make You Feel Right at Home
You might be going to a friend’s house for a party or picking up your date for the first time.
Or if you’ve enrolled in an immersion course and are staying with a host family, you might be gearing up to meet them.
Whatever the case, if you’re going to conocer a la familia (to meet the family) you’ll need to get to know the cast of characters.
In this blog post, you’ll learn 38 essential family words in Spanish—from the basics like madre and padre to extended and blended family.
- Immediate Family in Spanish
- Extended Family in Spanish
- The In-laws in Spanish
- Blended Family in Spanish
- How to Use Adjectives with Family Words in Spanish
- The Importance of Family in Spanish Cultures
Immediate Family in Spanish
Remember: Generally, noun plurals are formed by adding -as to reference that a group is all female and -os to indicate either all males or a mix of males and females.
I’ve included some plural male forms, but if you’re referring to a group of female family members, don’t forget to change that ending or you might risk offending someone!
- Abuela — Grandmother
- Abuelo — Grandfather
- Abuelos — Grandparents
- Madre — Mother
- Padre — Father
- Padres — Parents
- Hermana — Sister
- Hermano — Brother
- Hermanos — Siblings
- Hija — Daughter
- Hijo — Son
- Hijos — Children
- Novia — Girlfriend
- Novio — Boyfriend
- Esposa — Wife
- Esposo — Husband
Me gustaría presentarte a mis padres. (I’d like to introduce you to my parents.)
No tengo ni hermanos ni hermanas. (I don’t have brothers or sisters.)
Tengo dos hermosas hijas. (I have two beautiful daughters.)
¡Su novia no se ve feliz! (His girlfriend doesn’t look happy!)
Extended Family in Spanish
- Tía — Aunt
- Tío — Uncle
- Prima — Cousin (female)
- Primo — Cousin (male)
- Primos — Cousins
- Sobrina — Niece
- Sobrino — Nephew
Mi tía y mi tío tienen vacas. (My aunt and uncle have cows.)
Mi prima es la única en la familia con el pelo rojo. (My cousin’s the only one in the family with red hair.)
¡Hay tantos primos en mi familia que no puedo contarlos a todos! (There are so many cousins in my family, I can’t count them all!)
A su sobrina y su sobrino les gusta el helado. (Her niece and nephew like ice cream.)
The In-laws in Spanish
Su suegra es muy amable. (His mother-in-law is very nice.)
Pero su suegro es malhumorado. (But his father-in-law is grouchy.)
Tengo una cuñada y un cuñado. (I have one sister-in-law and one brother-in-law.)
Blended Family in Spanish
- Madrastra — Stepmother
- Padrastro — Stepfather
- Hermanastra — Stepsister
- Hermanastro — Stepbrother
- Media hermana — Half-sister
- Medio hermano — Half-brother
- Abuelastra — Step-grandmother
- Abuelastro — Step-grandfather
- Primastra — Step-cousin (female)
- Primastro — Step-cousin (male)
Cuando mi mamá se casó con Juan, él se convirtió mi padrastro. (When my mom married Juan, he became my stepfather.)
Aunque es mi hermanastra, es como una verdadera hermana para mí. (Even though she is my stepsister, she’s like a real sister to me.)
Me agrada más mi abuela que mi abuelastra. (I like my grandmother more than my step-grandmother.)
How to Use Adjectives with Family Words in Spanish
When talking about people, we often use colorful adjectives to describe them.
But remember, there are a few Spanish grammar rules that apply to adjectives:
1. Adjectives must agree in gender with the nouns they modify (masculine or feminine). This means you need to change an adjective to its feminine form to describe a feminine noun (usually by changing the final -o to -a)—and vice versa.
2. Adjectives must agree in number with the noun they modify (singular or plural). Just add -s for vowel endings or -es for consonants.
3. Adjectives usually come after the nouns they modify. There are a few exceptions to that rule (we’ll explore this in more depth below).
Take a look at these sentences that show how you might use adjectives with your family members:
Mi hermana graciosa está aquí. (My funny sister is here.)
Este es mi sabio abuelo. (This is my wise grandfather.)
Mi hermano es adoptado. (My brother’s adopted.)
Ese es el tío hablador. (That’s the talkative uncle.)
¡Ella es la tía loca! (She’s the crazy aunt!)
Mi prima embarazada está allí. (My pregnant cousin is over there.)
Regular practice and consistent immersion are key to making grammar rules like adjective placement come naturally to you.
The Importance of Family in Spanish Cultures
The dynamics of the Spanish family might differ from what you’re used to.
Studies show that familism, the concept of family, is central to the culture. So family structure in Spanish-speaking communities is a key part of their lives—and language.
Spanish families are typically large and homes are filled with many people fostering warm, close relationships. From personal experience, I have to admit there’s so much caring and concern that everyone is in everyone else’s business—but in a good way!
Having extended families, including grandparents, has been the historical norm in many Spanish countries. This trend is still in practice today.
Traditionally, the close-knit Spanish family unit socializes together. With so many relatives around, it makes sense to do so. I know I had playmates galore when I was a kid—and they were all within calling distance!
Children are especially important in the Hispanic culture and are included in social events, even weddings. There usually isn’t a “kids’ table,” either: Children and adults sit and talk together, and if a little one gets cranky there are a lot of adults willing to take a turn at rocking the baby!
“Familia… donde comienza la vida y el amor nunca termina.” (Family… where life begins and love never ends.”
They can be loving, loud, huge, entertaining and sometimes overwhelming. The mix of aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, young and old—often under one big, bursting roof—provides the basis for Spanish life.