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Family vocabulary 2

Alice walking beside a canal
Words we use to talk about our families (mother, family, marriage etc.) can also have other meanings, either on their own or as part of compound words or phrases.


Ways of describing families and family relations

step-mother (also step-brother / step-sister / step-father / step-parent
a woman who is married to someone's father but who is not their real mother

After she married Chris, she became step-mother to his three children (as well as having her own daughter from her first marriage).

ex-husband (also ex-wife / ex-boyfriend / ex-partner
used to describe someone you used to have a relationship with

It was such a bitter divorce that she never spoke to her ex-husband after the divorce.

Other words with 'family'

run in the family
a trait or type of behaviour that is similar in brothers and sisters or in children and parents

She's great at singing. But it's no surprise really, being musical runs in the family. You know her grandfather was a famous opera singer and all her sisters play the piano.

start a family
have your first child, become a parent for the first time

They've been married for five years and now they want to start a family.

be in the family way
(informal) be pregnant, be expecting a baby

No wine for me, just some orange juice. You know I'm in the family way, don't you? So no booze for me for a while.

blended family
new family made up of two people (who were previously married to other partner) and the children from those previous marriages

Jill's a single mum and Dan divorced his first wife years ago. With four children between them, they're now a very happy blended family.


Other words with 'marry' or 'marriage'

be married to something
be very close to something, very committed or very involved with something

He's completely married to that marketing idea but I just don't think it's going to work.

a marriage of things
two things joined together

Her work is a marriage of art and politics.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure
(fixed saying) if you marry someone quickly, without knowing them well, you will regret it later

She's only 17 and she won't listen to anyone but you know the old saying 'Marry in haste, repent at leisure'.

Stages of a relationship

see someone
be involved in a romantic relationship

How long have you been seeing her?

sleep with someone
have a sexual relationship with someone

He says he's not going to sleep with anyone until he gets married.

be engaged (to someone)
agree to marry someone (often people exchange rings and set a date for the wedding)

They've been engaged for five years! I don't know if they're ever going to get married.

get hitched / tie the knot
(informal) get married

Have you heard? Callum's just tied the knot! I thought he was a confirmed bachelor.

be separated (from someone)
no longer live with someone you are married to

They decided to separate even though they'd only been married for a year or two.

divorce (someone)
formally end a marriage

She divorced him after she found out he had been having an affair.


save your marriage
work at your relationship after you have had some difficulties, rather than splitting up or getting divorced  

give it a go
try, attempt  

serious promises 


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