This word would include me, my brothers and sister as well as my mother and father. It would not include my wife or kids. And as a bonus, is there a word for the group that would only include myself, my wife and kids?

  • Are you talking about genes or laws or shared domiciles? Genetically your first-degree relatives are those who share 50% of your genetics with you, which under most scenarios means parents, children, and full siblings — but under unusual cases can include various others as well.
    – tchrist
    Jun 5, 2020 at 17:23
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    They're your birth family - as opposed to what I'd call your spousal family if pressed (the family you and your spouse create when you're an adult, as opposed to the family you were born into). Jun 5, 2020 at 17:27
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    Indeed, I am talking about shared domicile, more or less. I am trying to have someone fill out a form that is relaxed and conversational. I am looking to group the data on the people they are related to, but trying to keep it in small, manageable bites, if you will.
    – KCL
    Jun 5, 2020 at 18:59
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    I should note that you cannot have an answer that includes "brothers and sisters as well as mother and father" (parents and children) on the one hand, but excludes "kids" (children) on the other hand. If a child is included, then a child will always be included. (Perhaps you had meant to say "it would not include my wife, if she were not a parent my children, or her children, if I were not a parent of them.") Similarly, "my wife and kids" also includes the siblings of each child. Jun 5, 2020 at 20:49
  • The question seemed relatively clear, until the reference to a 'shared domicile' in one of the OP's comments made it confusing. Is the idea that, if a respondent lives in three-generation households, only a part of the household should be listed? If a respondent lives only with his spouse, should the answer be left blank? It is often difficult to be 'relaxed and conversational' and clear at the same time.
    – jsw29
    Jun 6, 2020 at 15:38

3 Answers 3


For the term for "group that would only include myself, my wife and kids," I disagree with nuclear family in this case, because that describes a type of family.

The clarification in comments added "I am trying to have someone fill out a form that is relaxed and conversational," and a form would not say "Give the names of your nuclear family". While nuclear here has a specific meaning ("forming a nucleus") it's entirely possible that it will be misunderstood, if it's understood at all in this context.

For this context, immediate family is to be preferred, I feel.

This term appears in OED describing what a "first-degree relative" is.

Designating a member of a person's immediate family, as a parent, sibling, or child. Chiefly in first degree relative.

The term itself is not defined in OED, although immediate is:

Said of a person or thing in its relation to another: That has no intermediary or intervening member, medium, or agent; that is in actual contact or direct personal relation.

While that definition might be taken to include parents or siblings, in normal usage it includes only those who are living together in a household.

And actually, the word household might also suffice.

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    My "immediate family" could be the family unit in which I'm a child (or was a child if I'm now an adult), or the family unit in which I'm a parent. OP is asking for terms that distinguish between those cases.
    – nnnnnn
    Jun 6, 2020 at 9:21
  • In that case, it's household.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 6, 2020 at 9:22
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    But a household can include more than two generations of a family, and can include people not in the family.
    – nnnnnn
    Jun 6, 2020 at 9:25
  • Which is exactly why nuclear family isn't right either, because that tends to mean "family members within the household". Perhaps there just isn't a term which is universally applicable.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 6, 2020 at 9:28
  • @AndrewLeach I have to agree. Can possibly use household. I had used the phrase "family: growing up". Not great but I think it communicates the distinction. I appreciate all the input from everyone. Will mark this as the answer.
    – KCL
    Jun 8, 2020 at 15:51

As for your second request:

Nuclear family:

a family consisting of two parents and their children, but not including aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

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    Why would this be downvoted? Because it only answers a part of the OP's question? Where that part is concerned, this answer nails it.
    – lumbrjak
    Jun 5, 2020 at 18:23
  • Nuclear family is excellent for the second answer, but I am looking for something more colloquial/conversational, if possible.
    – KCL
    Jun 5, 2020 at 18:53
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    Agree with @lumbrjak. M-W defines immediate family as a person's parents, brothers and sisters, husband or wife, and children, and nuclear family as a family group that consists only of parents and children. This nails the first part, as the OP sought a word for himself and his parents, brothers, and sister. It also nails the second part, as the OP, his wife, and their children also constitute a nuclear family. Whoever downvoted this answer is a total joke. I'll do my part to undo the damage. Jun 5, 2020 at 21:31
  • The terms nuclear family and immediate family do not distinguish between two families that a person may belong to: (1) oneself, one's parents, and one's siblings, and (2) oneself, one's spouse, and one's children. Both (1) and (2) can be characterised as nuclear and as immediate; the OP's question is seeking to distinguish them.
    – jsw29
    Jun 6, 2020 at 15:46

I agree with @FumbleFingers. It can be birth family.

Birth family is normally used to distinguish from adoptive family, but it refers specifically to parents and siblings (excluding wife and kids).

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