I am just trying to find a word that describes a friend who means as much to me as my family does. I have searched google but have not found such a word.

  • Family is used like this sometimes, as a bit of a metaphor. "You're like family". However I can't find a source on this. – SuperBiasedMan Jan 14 '16 at 12:58
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    The usual idiom is "like family to me", or "like a brother/sister to me". – Hot Licks Jan 14 '16 at 13:09
  • In general this is called fictive kinship but that's too formal a term for ordinary use. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Jan 14 '16 at 14:26
  • "intimate friend". – Graffito Jan 14 '16 at 16:51

The words brother or sister can carry double-duty here, since they do literally mean a relative (I'll spare everyone a reference :-)), and can also mean

Slang. fellow; buddy


a female friend or protector regarded as a sister

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    eg. "Like a [sister/brother] to me." – SuperBiasedMan Jan 14 '16 at 12:52
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    also monks call each other brothers too, and belong to fraternities which are their new families really (since they don't marry and stuff). So this is definitely a common way to express this. Terms like bro BFF or fam have suffered from inflation though. – Formagella Jan 14 '16 at 18:31

If it's a male, you could say he's a brother from another mother. For females, you could go for the (much) less commonly used sister from a different mister. Both of these are very colloquial and rather light in tone.

  • They are colloquial though "from another" is usually used rather than "a different", particular because in the original male case this was a triple rhyme. "Brother from another mother". – SuperBiasedMan Jan 14 '16 at 14:50
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    Of course, can't believe I messed that up. Edited. – Nuclear Hoagie Jan 14 '16 at 15:02
  • I always thought this was meant to imply half-brother/sister -- am I just mistaken? – rrauenza Jan 14 '16 at 22:00
  • @rrauenza, the phrase doesn't imply any blood relation. It shouldn't be understood as having a different mother, but the same father or anything like that. Although it would be a very apt way to talk about your half-sibling, I wouldn't expect a relation given just the phrase. – Nuclear Hoagie Jan 15 '16 at 8:20
  • Thanks! I always assumed the primary meaning was a euphemism for a child through an affair or half brother! – rrauenza Jan 15 '16 at 15:57

You can use family itself.

He is my best friend. He is family to me.

OED definition of to be family:

to belong to a group of friends, colleagues, etc., who are close-knit, supportive, trusting, etc.


In a wedding toast I heard once I loved the phrase "family by affection".

I see you tagged this as single-word-request, but I don't think you are likely to find such a word in English.


Bosom buddy.

A bit vulgar, perhaps, but what's a little vulgarity between friends? I'm almost not joking.


There's no single word in English, at least not one that would be understood by the average speaker. I'm not going to say you couldn't dig up something archaic, but that wouldn't really help.


I would use the term kith from kith and kin. Kin is "family" and and kith would be "like family".

I tried searching for a proper definition and it turns out there's not much supporting this definition. It may be a regionalism or it might be archaic.


Soulmate, perhaps - a person who shares a deep understanding or bond with another; esp. one ideally suited to another as a lover or spouse.

1822 S. T. Coleridge Let. to Young Lady in Lett., Conversat., & Recoll. (1836) II. 89 You must have a Soul-mate as well as a House or a Yoke-mate.

1847 Howitt's Jrnl. 6 Mar. 128/2 She could be neither soul-mate nor help-mate to such a man.

2006 Psychologies (U.K. ed.) July 14/3 We all hope to make a few deep and lasting friendships, but... we can have other friends who are fun, kind or useful rather than being soulmates.

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    I most often hear this in a romantic context, rather than being a close intimate friendship. – SuperBiasedMan Jan 14 '16 at 14:49

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