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Talking about family in spanish



Talking about Family in Spanish

Stories about family adventures always help to keep the ball rolling. But in order to better navigate through your story and have lots of fun you need to know the names of every family member in Spanish! 

Immediate Family Members

Big family sitting at a dining table

Here’s the list of Spanish words denoting immediate family members: 


Brother – hermano – ehrr-MAH-noh

Father - padre – PAHD-rey
Mother - madre – MAHD-rey
Son – hijo – YEE-ho
Daughter – YEE-ha

Grandchildren – nietos – knee-YEH-toss
Grandson – nieto - knee-YEH-toh

Granddaughter – knee-YEH-tah

Grandfather  - abuelo – ah-boo-EH-low

Grandmother – abuela – ah-boo-EH-lah

Grandparents – abuelos – ah-boo-EH-loss

Husband – esposo – ess-POH-sow

Parents – padres – PAHD-ress

Sister – hermana - ehrr-MAH-nah

Wife – esposa – ess-POH-sah

Parenting Issues

Spanish children would often – just like in any other country of the world - use simpler names for their parents. In Spanish, these are papá and mama, with the stress on the final syllable. Make sure you put an accent on it when spelling these words in writing, otherwise you will get completely different words: la papa (lah PAH-pah) means potato, and el Papa is the Pope.


Spanish also has a pseudo international word that is very similar to the English ‘parents’ – parientes, only it means more distant relations – any relative in general.


My parents live in the USA. – Mis padres viven en los Estados Unidos.

I have relatives in Spain. – Tengo parientes en España. 


Spanish Siblings

Spanish differs from English, among other things, in having grammatical gender. Thus, if your story features your brothers, sisters, or all of them, you need to use the same root and pronounce the ending distinctly to let the listener get the facts straight. Use hermano, with oh at the end, for your brother and hermana, with a distinct final ah, for your sister. However, if you need to speak collectively, say hermanos – just like ‘siblings’ in English, hermanos include both brothers and sisters. 


Extended Family

Family tree with names of family members in Spanish

Some really hilarious family reunion stories often feature distant relatives, so here is the list of Spanish names for all of them:


Uncle – tío – TEE-oh

Aunt – tía – TEE-ah

Nephew – sobrino – sob-REE-noh

Niece – sobrina - sob-REE-nah

Cousins – primos – PREE-moss

Cousin (male/female) – primo/prima – PREE-moh/PREE-mah

Great grandfather – bisabuelo – bee-sah-boo-EH-loh

Great grandmother –bisabuela - bee-sah-boo-EH-lah

Great grandson – bisnieto – bees-knee-YEH-toh

Great granddaughter – bisnieta - bees-knee-YEH-tah

Great great grandfather – tatarabuelo – tah-tahrr-ah-boo-EH-loh

Great great grandmother – tatarabuela - tah-tahrr-ah-boo-EH-lah


Gender Issues

Remember the rule about siblings? It also works for uncle and aunt couples, assorted cousins and nephews plus nieces – you only need to say tios, primos, and sobrinos, as the words include both male and female relatives. 


Spanish In-Laws

Here comes a problem: Spanish is way trickier than English in terms of naming relatives who came into your family via a marriage. No in-law, no – you need to remember all sorts of different words.Give it a go, though – it’s fun!

Father-in-law – suegro – SWAY-grow

Mother-in-law - suegra - SWAY-grah

Son-in-law – yerno – YEHRR-no

Daughter-in-law – nuera – NWEH-rah
Brother-in-law – cuñado – koo-NYAH-doh

Sister-in-law – cuñada - koo-NYAH-dah


Step by Step

Sometimes, family members get married more than once. In order to ‘name’ all the newly acquired members of your family, you need to add –astr- and a gender ending to the name of the blood relative you’d use:

Stepfather – padrastro – pahd-RAHSS-troh

Stepmother – madrastra – mahd-RAHSS-trah

Stepson – hijastro – yee-HAHSS-troh

Stepdaughter – hijastra - yee-HAHSS-trah

Stepbrother – hermanastro - ehrr-mah-NAHSS-troh

Stepsister – hermanastra - ehrr-mah-NAHSS-trah


We have lots of family-related words in our quiz! Hurry up to test and reinforce your knowledge!

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