60+ Family Idioms and Phrases
Family idioms and phrases are linguistic expressions that depict the dynamics, relationships, and values associated with families. These idioms reflect the universal experiences and emotions that arise within family units. They offer insights into the unique connections, shared experiences, and challenges that families encounter, providing a glimpse into the complex and diverse nature of familial bonds.
Here list of 60+ Family Idioms and Phrases with Meaning and Example:
(Born) Out of Wedlock
Meaning: Illegitimate, born to unmarried parents
Example: I was born out of wedlock and raised by a single mother.
A chip off the old block
Meaning: A person who resembles their parent in personality or traits.
Example: Tom has the same entrepreneurial spirit as his mother. He’s a chip off the old block.
A family circle
Meaning: The immediate members of a family who are closely connected.
Example: Every Sunday, we gather in the family circle for a meal and quality time together.
A family legacy
Meaning: Something of value or importance passed down through generations.
Example: The family farm has been a cherished family legacy for over a century.
(Be the) Spitting Image
Meaning: Have a strong resemblance, often familial
Example: Look at Madeleine. She’s the spitting image of her mother.
A family man/woman
Meaning: Someone who prioritizes their family and enjoys spending time with them.
Example: John is a family man. He always makes sure to spend quality time with his wife and kids.
A family of wolves
Meaning: A family that is fiercely protective of each other.
Example: Don’t mess with them; they’re a family of wolves. They always have each other’s backs.
A family that plays together stays together
Meaning: Families who engage in activities and spend quality time together have stronger bonds.
Example: We make it a point to have game nights every weekend. A family that plays together stays together.
A family tree
Meaning: A chart or diagram showing the relationships between family members.
Example: Grandma has been researching our family tree and discovered some fascinating ancestors.
A family unit
Meaning: The core group of family members living together.
Example: After the divorce, Sarah and her children became a strong family unit.
A house divided against itself cannot stand
Meaning: If a family is divided and doesn’t stand together, it is likely to fail or face difficulties.
Example: We need to resolve our differences and stand united. A house divided against itself cannot stand.
A house full of love
Meaning: A family that is filled with affection and care for one another.
Example: No matter how small our house is, it’s always a house full of love.
A shoulder to cry on
Meaning: Someone who provides emotional support during difficult times.
Example: When I lost my job, my sister was a shoulder to cry on.
A shoulder to lean on
Meaning: Someone who provides emotional support and comfort in difficult times.
Example: When I lost my job, my sister was a shoulder to lean on.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing
Meaning: Someone who appears harmless or friendly but is actually deceitful or dangerous.
Example: Watch out for Uncle Joe; he may seem nice, but he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Accident Of Birth
Meaning: Luck in something due to family good fortune
Example: Yes, he became company vice-president when he was only 23, but that’s an accident of birth – his father is one of the major stockholders.
All in the same boat
Meaning: Facing the same difficulties or challenges.
Example: We’re all struggling with our finances these days. We’re all in the same boat.
And His Mother
Meaning: An intensifier for an inclusive noun or phrase such as everyone, everybody
Example: Everybody and his mother is going to be at the fireworks. Let’s watch the on television.
Meaning: Government, viewed as an intrusive force in the lives of citizens; government spying
Example: Big Brother seems to grow more and more powerful as data about individuals is accumulated on social networks.
Birds of a feather flock together
Meaning: People with similar interests or characteristics tend to associate with each other.
Example: The cousins always spend their vacations together. Birds of a feather flock together.
Blood is thicker than water
Meaning: Family relationships are stronger than relationships with others.
Example: Even though they had a fight, they will eventually reconcile because blood is thicker than water.
Blood runs thicker than water
Meaning: Family bonds are stronger and more important than other relationships.
Example: When times get tough, you can always rely on your family. Blood runs thicker than water.
Bloodline of kings
Meaning: A family that has a prestigious or noble ancestry.
Example: The Johnsons can trace their bloodline back to the kings of ancient times.
Meaning: Ancestry or lineage within a family.
Example: The royal family’s bloodline can be traced back for centuries.
Bob’s Your Uncle
Meaning: The rest is easy; you’re almost finished
Example: Just enter the update code, register the new software, and Bob’s your uncle.
Meaning: Something that has both positive and negative effects or consequences.
Example: Being part of a big family is a double-edged sword. It’s great to have many relatives, but it can also be chaotic at times.
Familiarity breeds contempt
Meaning: Being too close or spending too much time with family can lead to disagreements or resentment.
Example: Living together for too long can be challenging. Familiarity breeds contempt.
Meaning: An event or activity that involves or is organized by the whole family.
Example: The family reunion was a grand family affair with relatives from all over the country.
Meaning: The way family members interact and relate to each other.
Example: Understanding family dynamics is crucial for maintaining harmony and resolving conflicts.
Meaning: Prioritizing the needs and well-being of one’s family above all else.
Example: Even though he was offered a lucrative job in another city, he turned it down because family comes first.
Meaning: Upholding and protecting the reputation and dignity of the family.
Example: The family honor is at stake, and we must do everything we can to defend it.
Meaning: Physical similarities among family members.
Example: Everyone says my daughter has a family resemblance to her grandfather.
Family ties are the ties that bind
Meaning: Family relationships are strong and enduring.
Example: No matter what happens, we stick together. Family ties are the ties that bind.
Meaning: Strong connections and relationships within a family.
Example: Despite living far apart, their family ties remain strong.
Meaning: Something of great sentimental or historical value passed down through generations.
Example: This antique pocket watch has been in our family for generations. It’s a family treasure.
Meaning: Principles and beliefs that are important to a family.
Example: Respect, honesty, and compassion are some of the core family values we hold dear.
Meaning: A mentor, a person who offers guidance
Example: After I joined the company, Frank was a father figure to me. He gave me lots of valuable advice.
Flesh and Blood
Meaning: Blood relatives, close relatives
Example: When all is said and done, few people understand you like your own flesh and blood, even if you don’t get along with them.
Meaning: Overattentive child-raising
Example: The trend these days is toward helicopter parenting. When I was young children had much more independence, and I think it helped them.
Home away from home
Meaning: A place where one feels comfortable and welcomed, even if it’s not one’s actual home.
Example: The beach house has become our home away from home. We spend every summer there.
Home is where the heart is
Meaning: The place where one feels most loved and comfortable.
Example: Although we moved several times, home is where the heart is, and our family is what makes it feel like home.
In the family way
Meaning: Being pregnant or expecting a child.
Example: Julia is in the family way and will be welcoming her first child next month.
In the same boat
Meaning: Experiencing the same situation or problem.
Example: We all lost our jobs due to the company’s closure. We’re in the same boat.
Inherit the earth
Meaning: When someone is expected to receive or achieve great things due to their family background or connections.
Example: With his family’s influence, he’s destined to inherit the earth.
Keeping it in the family
Meaning: Maintaining a business, property, or responsibility within the family.
Example: After their father retired, the siblings decided to keep the business in the family.
Kith and Kin
Meaning: Family (collectively)
Example: When you go on a trip, it’s important to buy souvenirs for your kith and kin back home.
Like Taking Candy from a Baby
Meaning: Very easy
Example: Just watch. Getting her to go out with me will be like taking candy from a baby.
Like a mother hen
Meaning: Someone who is overprotective and caring towards their family members.
Example: Mary is always fussing over her children and making sure they’re safe. She’s like a mother hen.
Like father, like son
Meaning: A son tends to resemble his father in behavior or traits.
Example: John is a talented musician, just like his father. Like father, like son.
Like two peas in a pod
Meaning: Two people who are very similar or always together.
Example: Sarah and Emily are inseparable. They’re like two peas in a pod.
Love makes a family
Meaning: The belief that love and care are what truly define a family, regardless of blood relations.
Example: Our family may not be related by blood, but love makes a family.
My Old Man, My Old Lady
Meaning: My spouse
Example: I’d love to go to the mall with you, but I told my old man I’d go to the football game.
Pop the Question
Meaning: Propose marriage
Example: I bought a ring, and I’m ready to pop the question to Patricia.
Run in the Family
Meaning: Be inherited (as a trait) by multiple members of a family
Example: I’m not surprised Maria has started playing in a band. Musical talent runs in her family.
Skeletons in the closet
Meaning: Hidden or secret problems or embarrassing facts about a family.
Example: Everyone has skeletons in the closet, but it’s important to support and love each other despite our flaws.
Meaning: People or organizations with little influence; children
Example: We’re still small fry compared to the major companies in the field.
Spare The Rod And Spoil The Child
Meaning: It is necessary to physically punish children in order to raise them right.
Example: Marlena is to permissive with her children. Spare the rod and spoil the child, I say.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
Meaning: Children often inherit traits or behaviors from their parents.
Example: Lucy is a talented artist, just like her mother. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
The apple of my eye
Meaning: A person who is cherished and loved above all others, often a child.
Example: My son is the apple of my eye. I couldn’t be prouder of him.
The black sheep of the family
Meaning: A family member who is seen as different or behaves in a way that is not accepted by the rest of the family.
Example: Mike always went against our family’s traditions. He’s the black sheep of the family.
The prodigal son returns
Meaning: A way to describe someone who has returned home after a period of absence or rebellion.
Example: After years of traveling and exploring, Mark realized the importance of family, and the prodigal son returns.
The ties of kinship
Meaning: The bonds and connections between family members.
Example: We may live far apart, but the ties of kinship keep us close at heart.
The ties that bind
Meaning: Strong emotional connections within a family.
Example: No matter the distance, the ties that bind our family remain unbreakable.
Thick as thieves
Meaning: Very close or inseparable, often used to describe siblings.
Example: The Smith siblings are thick as thieves. They share everything and are always together.
Through thick and thin
Meaning: Supporting each other in both good times and bad times.
Example: We’ve been through thick and thin together, and our bond is unbreakable.
Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water
Meaning: Eliminate something good while discarding the bad parts of something
Example: Yes, the sales presentation has problems, but I don’t think we should start fresh with a new one. We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
United we stand, divided we fall
Meaning: When a family stands together, they are stronger and can overcome challenges.
Example: We need to remember that united we stand, divided we fall. Let’s support each other.
Up the Duff
Example: They hadn’t planned to get married, but Janice found out she was up the duff.
Family idioms and phrases capture the essence of family life, showcasing the love, support, conflicts, and joys that come with it. They serve as a reminder of the importance of family in our lives and the enduring nature of familial connections. Exploring these idioms not only enriches our language skills but also deepens our appreciation for the universal themes of love, loyalty, and belonging that define the concept of family across cultures and societies.