< is from 1540s. From 1660s

The phrase is attested from 1844.


  1. A group of blood relatives, especially parents and their children.
  2. A taxonomic category of related organisms ranking below an order and above a genus.

  1. A group of organisms ranking above a genus and below an order. The names of families end in -ae, a plural ending in Latin. In the animal kingdom, family names end in -idae, as in Canidae (dogs and their kin), while those in the plant kingdom usually end in -aceae, as in Rosaceae (roses and their kin). See Table at taxonomy.

In biology, the classification lower than an order and higher than a genus. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, and house cats belong to the same biological family. Human beings belong to the biological family of hominids. (See Linnean classification.)

see in a family way; run in the blood (family).

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