French vocabulary: Family and friends


Last Updated: February 22, 2023

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When do you use “la” and “le” in describing family and friends in French? It may be confusing at first but it really is as simple as ABC. “La” is used when the subject is female and “le” is used when the subject is male.

The hip hop American slang “boo” was actually coined from the French word “beau”, which is an adjective placed in front of a male noun.

“Belle” on the other hand helps express the female noun.

Discover below on how to use this together with the usual French words relating to family, relatives and friends.

French vocab family


Get the vocabulary list in PDF format by clicking the yellow button below.

Now let's discover words and phrases related to family and friends in French!

Family (la famille) vocabulary:

la fille daughter
le filsson
le cousin, la cousinecousin
le demi-frèrehalf-brother
la demi-soeur half-sister
la famille family
la femmewife
le frère brother
le gendre son-in-law
le jumeau, la jumelle twin brother, sister
la mamanmom
le mari husband
la mèremother
le neveu nephew
la nièce niece
l’oncle (m.)uncle
le papadad
les parents parents
le pèrefather
la soeursister
la tanteaunt
la brudaughter-in-law
le beau-filsson-in-law, stepson
la belle-filledaughter-in-law, stepdaughter
le beau-frèrebrother-in-law, stepbrother
la belle-sœur sister-in-law, stepsister
le beau-pèrefather-in-law, stepfather
la belle-mère mother-in-law, stepmother
la famille procheclose family
la famille éloignéerelatives

The adjective beau (m.) or belle (f.) in front of the nouns fille, fi ls, frère, soeur, père, or mère helps express step or in-law.

  • le beau-fils: son-in-law, stepson
  • la belle-fille: daughter-in-law, stepdaughter
  • le beau-frère: brother-in-law, stepbrother
  • la belle-soeur: sister-in-law, stepsister
  • le beau-père: father-in-law, stepfather
  • la belle-mère: mother-in-law, stepmother

Compound phrases such as la belle-fille and le beau-fils have a double meaning.  They are used to express daughter-in-law and son-in-law. In the following sentences, note that la bru also means daughter-in-law. Similarly le gendre means son-in-law as well.

  • Ma belle-fille est la femme de mon fils. My daughter-in-law is my son’s wife.
  • Ma bru est la femme de mon fils. My daughter-in-law is my son’s wife.

The adjective grand or grands placed before the nouns mère, père, or parents serves to express grandmother, grandfather, and grandparents.

  • E.G: Ma grand-mère est grande. My grandmother is tall.

The adjective petite, petit, or petits placed before the nouns fille, fils, and enfants serves to express granddaughter, grandson, and grandchildren.

  • E.G : Ma petite-fille s’appelle Laura. My granddaughter’s name is Laura.

The adverb arrière placed before grand-mère, grand-père, grands-parents, petite-fille, petit-fils, and petits-enfants serves to express great.

  • J’ai des photos de mes arrière-grands parents. I have pictures of my great-grandparents.
  • Mon arrière-grand-mère était pianiste. My great-grandmother was a pianist.
  • Mon arrière-grand-père est né en 1890. My great-grandfather was born in 1890.

Download the family friends French vocab to confidently talk about your friends and family in French.

Friends (les amis) vocabulary

l’ami(e) intimeclose friend
les amoureux (m. pl.)lovers (people in love)
l’amant(e) lover
le/la camaradebuddy / friend,
le/la collèguecolleague
la connaissanceacquaintance


There you have it, important vocabulary you need to know so you can engage in a conversation about your friends and family in French.

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About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

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