fa·​mil·​ial | \fə-ˈmil-yəl, -ˈmi-lē-əl\

Definition of familial 

1 : tending to occur in more members of a family than expected by chance alone a familial disorder

2 : of, relating to, or suggestive of a family has familial ties to the area a familial atmosphere

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Synonyms & Antonyms for familial


domestic, household


nondomestic, nonfamilial

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Examples of familial in a Sentence

The company has created a familial atmosphere in its offices. it's a familial duty as well as a tradition for everyone in my family to eat dinner together

Recent Examples on the Web

Penny Peabody is Related to the Coopers Here's another familial relation theory – that Penny Peabody is actually related to the Coopers. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "These "Riverdale" Season 3 Fan Theories Are So Crazy They Might Actually Be True," 24 Sep. 2018 The lack of familial support left him short $20,000 for tuition at Georgetown University, which had accepted him for its Class of 2022, Owen said. Fox News, "College fund grows for gay teen who clashed with parents," 3 Aug. 2018 This movie, based on the memoirs of David and Nic Sheff (a father and son duo) tackles addiction and familial bonds, and is already getting Oscar buzz for its two leads, Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Biggest Movies of Fall 2018," 25 July 2018 Morgan has called the February document fraudulent and has threatened to sue the Hollywood Reporter, which first reported on the matter and used it as the basis of an April article on Lee that exposed much of the familial fighting. David Ng, latimes.com, "As Marvel movies soar, Stan Lee sees his private life crumble, with allegations of elder abuse," 29 June 2018 The restructuring of the school system marks the end of an era for children in schools like Paso Palmas, who have been educated in a close-knit, familial atmosphere for decades. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "First Hurricane Maria, now this: a Puerto Rico town mourns the loss of its school," 15 June 2018 The Fantastic Four would revolutionize depictions of superheroes, thanks to its familial themes and quirky cast. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Remembering Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics Legend, Dies at 95," 12 Nov. 2018 Back before phones killed so much familial feeling. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' opens on Broadway, the J.K. Rowling magic now passed between generations," 22 Apr. 2018 But, could his parents have a point in saying that Kate's unresolved familial issues could be bad news for Toby's mental and emotional health? refinery29.com, "The Internet Is Remarkably Torn Over Toby's Parents On This Is Us," 14 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'familial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of familial

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for familial

French, from Latin familia

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Statistics for familial

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for familial

The first known use of familial was in 1843

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More Definitions for familial



English Language Learners Definition of familial

: of or relating to a family : suggesting a family

medical : tending to affect members of the same family


fa·​mil·​ial | \fə-ˈmil-yəl \

Kids Definition of familial

: relating to or typical of a family


fa·​mil·​ial | \fə-ˈmil-yəl \

Medical Definition of familial 

: tending to occur in more members of a family than expected by chance alone a familial disorder — compare acquired sense 1, congenital sense 2, hereditary

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More from Merriam-Webster on familial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with familial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for familial

Spanish Central: Translation of familial

Nglish: Translation of familial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of familial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on familial

What made you want to look up familial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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