The topic of family is an excellent conversation starter for people who don’t know each other well. Family in the Italian language is a great topic to have a conversation especially if you are an Italian learner. It will give you the opportunity to converse naturally about your family as well as others’ families.

This article will teach you Italian words, conversation starters, and phrases to help you make small talk and describe your family in Italian. The Italian word for family is “famiglia,” and the plural form is “famiglie.” As you can see, it is very similar to the English word, which makes memorization much easier.

“Grado di parentela” in Italian, can be used to define your relationship with someone. A typical family consists of parents, siblings, a spouse, and children, who are referred to as “parenti di primo grado” in Italian.

Then there are second- and third-degree family members, known in Italian as “parenti di secondo grado” and “parenti di terzo grado.”

Some of the prominent relationships include

  • Mother in Italian
  • Father in Italian
  • Grandmother in Italian
  • Grandfather in Italian
  • Sister in Italian
  • Brother in Italian
  • Daughter in Italian
  • Son in Italian
  • Aunt in Italian
  • Uncle in Italian
  • Cousin in Italian

Immediate family in the Italian language

Let’s begin with family vocabulary and relationships. First-degree family members are those closest to you, which translates to “familiari” or “parenti di primo grado” in Italian. In Italian, a close relative is also known as “congiunto,” “parente prossimo,” or “parente stretto.”

 It should be noted that “parente” is a fictitious friend. In Italian, “parenti” are “relatives” in English, whereas “parents” in English are “genitori” in Italian.

We know it is quite confusing but make sure you know which one is which! The words “parente” and “parent” come from the Latin word “parens,” which means “parent.” This term was later replaced in Italian by “genitore.”

You can learn Italian online with italki to minimize all your confusion related to family. You can book your lesson plan online to get the best instructor who will make you fluent in Italian.

Look at the following table to learn the terms for immediate family in the Italian language.

EnglishItalian SingularItalian PluralIPAPronunciation
First-degree family memberFamiliareFamiliari[familiˈare]pha-meeh-leeh-ah-reh
First-degree family memberCongiuntoCongiunti[kond͡ʒˈunto]kohn-joon-toh
First-degree family memberParente di primo gradoParenti di primo grado[parˈɛnte dˈi prˈimo ɡrˈado]pah-rehn-teh deeh pree-moh grah-doh
Close relativeParente prossimoParenti prossimi[parˈɛnte prˈɔs͡simo]pah-rehn-teh prohs-see-moh
Close relativeParente strettoParenti stretti[parˈɛnte strˈetːo]pah-rehn-teh streht-toh
Eldest childPrimogenitoPrimogeniti[primod͡ʒˈɛnito]preeh-moh-jeh-neeh-toh
Middle childFiglio di mezzoFigli di mezzo[fˈiʎo dˈi mˈɛd͡zːo]pheeh-wlhee-oh deeh meh-tsoh
Little brother, younger brotherFratello minore, fratellinoFratelli minori, fratellini[fratˈɛllo minˈore][fratellˈino]phrah-tehl-loh mee-noh-rehphrah-tehl-leeh-noh
Older brotherFratello maggioreFratelli maggiori[fratˈɛllo mad͡ʒːˈore]phrah-tehl-loh mah-joh-reh
Little sister, younger sisterSorella minore, sorellinaSorelle minori, sorelline[sorˈɛlla minˈore][sorellˈina]soh-rehl-lah mee-noh-rehsoh-rehl-leeh-nah
Older sisterSorella maggioreSorelle maggiori[sorˈɛlla mad͡ʒːˈore]soh-rehl-lah mah-joh-reh
Domestic partnerConviventeConviventi[konvivˈɛnte]kohn-vee-vehn-teh
Domestic partnerCompagnoCompagni[kompˈaɲɲo]kohm-pahn-yoh
Domestic partnerCompagnaCompagne[kompˈaɲɲa]kohm-pahn-yah

We recommend you to learn I love you in Italian to express your love and affection for your immediate family and life partner. Expressing love is an important factor that keeps the relationships strong and powerful.

Now let’s move towards the terms used for extended family in Italian.

Extended family in the Italian language

Second-degree relations include grandparents and grandchildren, and third-degree relations include great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews.

EnglishItalian SingularItalian PluralIPAPronunciation
Second-degree family memberParente di secondo gradoParenti di secondo grado[parˈɛnte dˈi sekˈondo ɡrˈado]pah-rehn-teh deeh seh-kohn-doh grah-doh
Grandfather, grandpaNonnoNonni[nˈɔnno]nohn-noh
Grandmother, grandmaNonnaNonne[nˈɔnna]nohn-nah
Third-degree family memberParente di terzo gradoParenti di terzo grado[parˈɛnte dˈi tˈɛrt͡so ɡrˈado]pah-rehn-teh dee tehr-tsoh grah-doh
Male cousinCuginoCugini[kʊd͡ʒˈino]kooh-jeeh-noh
Female cousinCuginaCugine[kʊd͡ʒˈina]kooh-jeeh-nah

To hold the conversation with your extended family in Italian, you can seek guidance from Italian tutor online. These instructors make learning easier by providing the opportunity to solve practice exercises, letting the learner speak Italian in simulated scenarios, and generating Italian pieces of writing.

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Distant relatives in the Italian language

A distant relative is someone who is not closely related to you and is known in Italian as “parente lontano” or “parente alla lontana” in Italian. Let’s learn how to say “great-uncles” and “second cousins”.

EnglishItalian SingularItalian PluralIPAPronunciation
Distant relativeParente lontanoParenti lontani[parˈɛnte lontˈano]pah-rehn-teh lohn-tah-noh
Distant relativeParente alla lontanaParenti alla lontana[parˈɛnte ˈalla lontˈana]pah-rehn-teh ahl-lah lohn-tah-nah
Great-great-unclePro-prozioPro-prozii[prˈo prot͡sˈio]proh-proh-tseeh-oh
Great-great-auntPro-proziaPro-prozie[prˈo prod͡zˈia]proh-proh-tseeh-ah
Male second cousinBiscuginoBiscugini[biskʊd͡ʒˈino]bees-kooh-jeeh-noh
Female second cousinBiscuginaBiscugine[biskʊd͡ʒˈina]bees-kooh-jeeh-nah
Male third cousinCugino di terzo gradoCugini di terzo grado[kʊd͡ʒˈino dˈi tˈɛrt͡so ɡrˈado]kooh-jeeh-noh deeh tehr-tsoh grah-doh
Female third cousinCugina di terzo gradoCugine di terzo grado[kʊd͡ʒˈina dˈi tˈɛrt͡so ɡrˈado]kooh-jeeh-nah deeh tehr-tsoh grah-doh
Male first cousin once removedProcuginoProcugini[prokʊd͡ʒˈino]proh-kooh-jeeh-noh
Female first cousin once removedProcuginaProcugine[prokʊd͡ʒˈina]proh-kooh-jeeh-nah
Male second cousin once removedProcuginoProcugini[prokʊd͡ʒˈino]proh-kooh-jeeh-noh
Female second cousin once removedProcuginaProcugine[prokʊd͡ʒˈina]proh-kooh-jeeh-nah
Male first cousin twice removedCugino di secondo gradoCugini di secondo grado[kʊd͡ʒˈino dˈi sekˈondo ɡrˈado]kooh-jeeh-noh deeh seh-kohn-doh grah-doh
Female first cousin twice removedCugina di secondo gradoCugine di secondo grado[kʊd͡ʒˈina dˈi sekˈondo ɡrˈado]kooh-jeeh-nah deeh seh-kohn-doh grah-doh

It is a normal practice to use slang with cousins. You can also learn Italian slang to have informal Italian conversations with your cousins and distant family members that match your age group.

Family members after marriage

In Italian, your husband or wife’s family members are referred to as “parenti acquisiti.” To specify their role, you add “in-law” to the end of another word in English, such as brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and so on. Each family member has a completely different name in Italian.

EnglishItalian SingularItalian PluralIPAPronunciation
In-lawsParente acquisitoParenti acquisiti[parˈɛnte akːwizˈito]pah-rehn-teh ah-kooh-eeh-seeh-toh

Other family-related terms in Italian

Here are some other handy phrases, words, and expressions that can be useful when talking about family in Italian language.

EnglishItalian SingularItalian PluralIPAPronunciation
Single-parent familyFamiglia monogenitoriale, famiglia monoparentaleFamiglie monogenitoriali, famiglie monoparentali[famˈiʎa monod͡ʒenitoriˈale][famˈiʎa monoparentˈale]pha-meeh-wlhee-ah moh-noh-jeh-neeh-toh-reeh-ah-lehpha-meeh-wlhee-ah moh-noh-pah-rehn-tah-leh
Single parent,lone parentGenitore singleGenitori single[d͡ʒenitˈore sˈinɡˌɔl]jeh-neeh-toh-reh seehn-gohl
Single fatherPadre singlePadri single[pˈadre sˈinɡˌɔl]pah-dreh seehn-gohl
Single motherMadre singleMadri single[mˈadre sˈinɡˌɔl]mah-dreh seehn-gohl
Civil unionUnione civileUnioni civili[ʊnjˈone t͡ʃivˈile]ooh-neeh-oh-neh cheeh-veeh-leh
De facto coupleCoppia di fattoCoppie di fatto[kˈɔpːia dˈi fˈatːo]kohp-peeh-ah deeh phaht-toh
Adoptive familyFamiglia adottivaFamiglie adottive[famˈiʎa adotːˈiva]pha-meeh-wlhee-ah ah-doht-teeh-vah
Adoptive parentsGenitori adottiviGenitori adottivi[d͡ʒenitˈorɪ adotːˈivɪ]jeh-neeh-toh-reeh ah-doht-teeh-veeh
Adoptive motherMadre adottivaMadri adottive[mˈadre adotːˈiva]mah-dreh ah-doht-teeh-vah
Adoptive fatherPadre adottivoPadri adottivi[pˈadre adotːˈivo]pah-dreh ah-doht-teeh-voh
Adopted childrenFigli adottiviFigli adottivi[fˈiʎɪ adotːˈivɪ]pheeh-wlhee ah-doht-teeh-veeh
Adopted sonFiglio adottivoFigli adottivi[fˈiʎo adotːˈivo]pheeh-wlhee-oh ah-doht-teeh-voh
Adopted daughterFiglia adottivaFiglie adottive[fˈiʎa adotːˈiva]pheeh-wlhee-ah ah-doht-teeh-vah
Foster familyFamiglia affidatariaFamiglie affidatarie[famˈiʎa affidatˈaria]pha-meeh-wlhee-ah ah-pheeh-dah-tah-reeh-ah
Foster parentsGenitori affidatariGenitori affidatari[d͡ʒenitˈorɪ affidatˈarɪ]jeh-neeh-toh-reeh ah-pheeh-dah-tah-reeh
Foster motherMadre affidatariaMadri affidatarie[mˈadre affidatˈaria]mah-dreh ah-pheeh-dah-tah-reeh-ah
Foster fatherPadre affidatarioPadri affidatari[pˈadre affidatˈario]pah-dreh ah-pheeh-dah-tah-reeh-oh
Foster childBambino in affidamento, bambino in affidoBambini in affidamento, bambini in affido[bambˈino ˈiːn affidamˈento][bambˈino ˈiːn affˈido]bahm-beeh-noh een ah-pheeh-dah-mehn-tohbahm-beeh-noh een ah-pheeh-doh
Surrogate motherMadre surrogataMadri surrogate[mˈadre sʊrɾoɡˈata]mah-dreh sooh-roh-gah-tah
GodfatherPadrino di battesimoPadrini di battesimo[padrˈino dˈi batːˈɛzimo]pah-dreeh-noh deeh bah-teh-seeh-moh
GodmotherMadrina di battesimoMadrine di battesimo[madrˈina dˈi batːˈɛzimo]mah-dreeh-nah deeh bah-teh-seeh-moh
TwinGemello, gemellaGemelli, gemelle[d͡ʒemˈɛllo][d͡ʒemˈɛlla]jeh-mehl-lohjeh-mehl-lah
TripletsTre gemelliTre gemelli[trˈe d͡ʒemˈɛllɪ]treh jeh-mehl-leeh
AncestorAntenato, avoAntenati, avi[antenˈato][ˈavo]ahn-teh-nah-tohah-voh
Family treeAlbero genealogicoAlberi genealogici[ˈalbero d͡ʒenealˈɔd͡ʒiko]ahl-beh-roh jeh-neh-ah-loh-jeeh-koh


All these terms cover the family tree. You can learn them gradually as there is a long list. Try to focus on pronunciation as well. If you are also thinking about the very famous question that is Italian different from Latin. The secret of this query lies in the pronunciation and accent.

Learn about family in the Italian language. It will surely boost your Italian vocabulary and give you the chance to get closer to your people.

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