Family in Spanish: 60+ Phrases to Talk About Your Family Members in Spanish (La familia)

Learning the Spanish words for immediate and extended family members is the foundation for discussing your loved ones.

From “madre” (mother) and “padre” (father) to “abuelo” (grandfather) and “prima” (cousin), we’ll cover the essential vocabulary to introduce and describe your family in Spanish accurately.

Spring Spanish, a project I co-founded with my friend and colleague Gabriel Gelman from Sprachheld (the biggest language learning blog in Germany), made a great on how to actually talk about family in Spanish:

Beyond individual words, you’ll need to master phrases and chunks to take on meaningful conversations about your family. We’ll explore chunks like “mi familia es muy unida” (my family is very close) and “somos una familia numerosa” (we’re a large family).

Let’s read on!

1. Talk about family members in Spanish: Parents and Step-parents

Talking about family in Spanish is a bit different than in other languages. It’s probably because in Spanish-speaking regions, family still has its traditional values.

In Spanish, some relatives can be referred to with more than one word. Like for father, you can say:

  • padre
  • papá

and for mother, you could say:

  • madre
  • mamá.

Children commonly use mamá and papá to address their parents, but it’s important to note that these words require an accent on the final syllable to avoid confusion with other meanings.

The term padres refers to parents in general and can also be the plural form of father.

Be mindful that parientes means relatives and should not be used when you want to speak about your parents. It’s a Spanish false friend.

Here’s a table with all of the mentioned phrases for family in Spanish.


When you’re talking about step-parents or adoptive parents, you would use these terms:

padres adoptivosadoptive parents
hijos adoptivosadopted children

2. Children in Spanish

Spanish nouns are gendered, so the plural forms of nouns change also based on whether they refer to males or females. Hijos refers to a group of male children or a mixed group of male and female children. And can you guess what hijas is – it is the word for a group of female children.

family in spanish on a field

When referring to step-children, the terms used are:


Note: The terms hijastro/a specifically refer to step-children from the perspective of the step-parent. The biological parent would still use hijo/a for their biological children in a mixed family situation.

3. Spanish vocabulary for your Significant Other

Here are some common ways to talk about your significant other (SO) in Spanish:

Compañero/a sentimentalRomantic partner
Mi amorMy love
Mi cariñoMy dear/My darling

When introducing your SO:

  • Te presento a mi novio/a Juan – Let me introduce you to my boyfriend/girlfriend Juan
  • Él/Ella es mi esposo/a – He/She is my husband/wife

So using Spanish nouns, possessive adjectives, nicknames and descriptive phrases, you can express your relationship status.

You can also check out romantic phrases in Spanish or how to say I love you in Spanish. If you’d like to describe your family relationship with your partner, you can say these chunks:

Es el/la amor de mi vidaHe/She is the love of my life
Es mi media naranjaHe/She is my better half
Es mi alma gemelaHe/She is my soulmate
Es mi compañero/aHe/She is my husband/wife

4. Extended family in Spanish

And since we already know a lot about close family and nuclear family, let’s take a look at how you can also introduce your extended family.

extended family in spanish
el abuelothe grandfather
la abuelathe grandmother
el bisabuelothe great-grandfather
la bisabuelathe great-grandmother
el tíothe uncle
la tíathe aunt
el sobrinothe nephew
la sobrinathe niece
el primothe male cousin
la primathe female cousin
el cuñadothe brother-in-law
la cuñadathe sister-in-law
el suegrothe father-in-law
la suegrathe mother-in-law
el yernothe son-in-law
la nuerathe daughter-in-law
los parientesthe relatives
la familia extendidathe extended family
el árbol genealógicothe family tree
los ancestrosthe ancestors
los descendientesthe descendants

5. In-laws in Spanish

Getting introduced to your in-laws is always an exciting but somewhat frightening experience.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Spring Spanish gives you 6 tips to make a great impression on your in-laws in Spanish:

And what are the family phrases you can use? Check them out!


6. How to talk about la familia in Spanish

At this point, you already know which Spanish words and chunks you can use to mention your family members. But what happens if you want to describe them as a whole?

Are you a nuclear family? A large family? A single-parent family?

Here’s everything you need to know about these Spanish phrases.

familia nuclearnuclear family
familia extendidaextended family
familia políticain-laws
familia postizastep-family
parientes cercanosclose relatives
parientes lejanosdistant relatives
árbol genealógicofamily tree
lazos familiaresfamily ties
familia monoparentalsingle-parent family
familia reconstituidablended family
familia numerosalarge family

7. Practice family vocabulary with our Practice Worksheet Library

Fill in the blanks with the correct words!

This is just part of the exercise… and we have many more in our Full Practice Worksheet Library: click the button here to request access!

8. Practice family vocabulary in Spanish with Conversation Based Chunking

The concept of the Conversation Based Chunking method will help you learn family vocabulary in Spanish. With this method, instead of memorizing individual words, you focus on common phrases and expressions while immersing yourself in the language.

Instead of just knowing “tío” (uncle) and “prima” (cousin), learn conversational chunks like “Mi tío Juan es muy divertido” (My uncle Juan is very funny) or “Mis primas y yo somos muy unidas” (My cousins and I are very close).

Conversation Based Chunking also helps you grasp the flow of Spanish conversations, which can be quite different from English. Sign up now to get access to the Spanish Conversation Based Chunking Starter Pack.

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