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
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
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 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.
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
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.
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!