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There are times when I need to refer to the family comprised of my spouse and children versus when I need to refer to my family comprised of my parents and siblings.

Are their words to distinguish between these? “Immediate” and “extended” family throw them into the same bucket!

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  • I do not think that there is a simple answer to this question. The concept of 'family' is a slippery one, because the word can either denote a strictly biologically related group or to something more subjective than that, involving socio-emotional closeness and interdependence. Even biologically related people, for example, may have little or no communication, physical or otherwise, with one another for a variety of reasons. Even the expression 'birth family' is hard to nail down precisely, and the absence of finely differentiated descriptors suggests we just have to be q clear as we can.
    – Tuffy
    Aug 17, 2023 at 22:10
  • This is definitely a duplicate, but the answer here is much better than the answers there.
    – Mitch
    Aug 18, 2023 at 12:16
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    @Mitch, to some extent, yes, the answer below is more to-the-point and offers terms for both sides of the distinction. Family of origin, which is in JAM's answer to the other question is, however, often used for a birth family in psychology and related fields.
    – jsw29
    Aug 18, 2023 at 18:23
  • It is important to clarify that the terms that are sought by this question are not terms for different kinds of families, but terms that manifest different perspectives on families.
    – jsw29
    Aug 18, 2023 at 18:43

1 Answer 1

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The family you were born into is called Birth Family and the family shaped by (after) marriage is referred to as Conjugal Family.

Update: To reflect @Edwin and @Paul comments, some other terms (in different contexts) to refer to after-marriage-family are as follows:

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    I'm happy with the definition of 'birth family', but 'conjugal family' seems to refer to any family with married parents, and children. Aug 17, 2023 at 15:47
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    According to Britannia, conjugal families are not distinct from, but rather a variety of nuclear families. And according to another source the two terms are synonymous. Aug 17, 2023 at 15:56
  • @PaulTanenbaum, neither the question nor this answer said anything about nuclear families.
    – jsw29
    Aug 18, 2023 at 18:14
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    This is what I was looking for. Thank you! Aug 24, 2023 at 22:11

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