Family Members In German [38 Words You Need To Know]

family members in german

Talking about your family, however large or small, is a common topic of conversation. Whether you’re getting to know someone or introducing a new partner to your parents, it’s essential to know the names of family members in German.

Not only do you need to know all the names for family members in German, but also how to talk about your family. In this post you will hear example sentences of typical conversations about family.

After reading this post you will know:

  • Names for family members in German
  • How to talk about your family with example sentences
  • The best ways to talk about relationships in German

Parents & Children

die Familie
the family
die Eltern
the parents
der Vater
the father
die Mutter
the mother
der Sohn / die Söhne
the son / the sons
die Tochter / die Töchter
the daughter / the daughters
das Kind / die Kinder
the child / the children

Example Sentences

Haben Sie Kinder? / Hast du Kinder?
Do you have children? (formal / informal)
Wir haben zwei Kinder, ein Sohn und eine Tochter.
We have two children, a son and a daughter.
Ich habe keine Kinder.
I don’t have any children.
family members in german: parents and children
Top Tip: German has 2 ways of saying ‘you’, the formal ‘Sie’ and informal ‘du’. When people talk within their family groups, they only ever use the informal ‘du’ form.

Siblings

die Geschwister
the siblings
der Bruder / die Brüder
the brother / the brothers
die Schwester / die Schwestern
the sister / the sisters
die Zwillinge
the twins
das Einzelkind
the only-child
der Halbbruder
the half brother
die Halbschwester
the half sister

Example Sentences

Haben Sie Geschwister? / Hast du Geschwister?
Do you have any siblings? (formal / informal)
Ich bin ein Einzelkind.
I’m an only-child.
Ich habe zwei Brüder und eine Halbschwester.
I have two brothers and one half sister.
siblings, brothers and sisters in german

Grandparents

die Großeltern
the grandparents
der Großvater
the grandfather
die Großmutter
the grandmother
der Enkel / die Enkel
the grandson / the grandsons
die Enkelin / die Enkelinnen
the granddaughter / the granddaughters
das Enkelkind / die Enkelkinder
the grandchild / the grandchildren

Example Sentences

Haben Sie Enkelkinder?
Do you have grandchildren? (formal)
Wir haben eine Enkelin.
We have a granddaughter.
Meine Großeltern leben nicht mehr.
My grandparents aren’t alive anymore.
family members in german: grandparents and grandchildren

Aunts & Uncles

der Onkel
the uncle
die Tante
the aunt
der Neffe / die Neffen
the nephew / the nephews
die Nichte / die Nichten
the niece / the nieces
der Cousin / die Cousins
the cousin / the cousins (male)
die Cousine / die Cousinen
the cousin / the cousins (female)

Example Sentences

Mein Onkel ist der Bruder meiner Mutter.
My uncle is my mother’s brother.
Mein Onkel hat eine Tochter. Sie ist meine Cousine.
My uncle has a daughter. She is my cousin.
Ich habe zwei Nichten, sie sind die Kinder meiner Schwestern.
I have two nieces, they are my sister’s children.
family in German: uncles and aunts

Extended Family Members in German

Of course many families are quite complex, with a lot of extended family.

der Stiefvater
the step father
die Stiefmutter
the step mother
der Stiefbruder
the step brother
die Stiefschwester
the step sister
der Stiefsohn
the step son
die Stieftochter
the step daughter
der Schwiegervater
the father-in-law
die Schwiegermutter
the mother-in-law
der Schwiegersohn
the son-in-law
die Schwiegertochter
the daughter-in-law
der Schwager
the brother-in-law
die Schwägerin
the sister-in-law

Cute Names for Family Members in German

Just like in English, there are less formal names for family members in German. Most of us don’t call our mothers ‘mother’, we say ‘mom / mum’. Here are some common, alternative names for family members:

Mutter
Mutti / Mama
Mother > Mom / Mum
Vater
Vati / Papa
Father > Dad
Großvater
Opa
Grandfather > Granddad
Großmutter
Oma
Grandmother > Granny

Relationships in German

Family members aren’t always blood relatives. Someone may join a family when they are in a relationship with another person, therefore it’s also important to know how to talk about relationships in German.

der Ehemann / der Mann
the husband
die Ehefrau / die Frau
the wife
der Freund
the boyfriend
die Freundin
the girlfriend
der Familienstand
the relationship status
die Beziehung
the relationship
ledig
single
verheiratet
married
geschieden
divorced

You may have spotted in this list that der Freund / die Freundin means boyfriend / girlfriend, but it also means male friend / female friend. This can be a bit confusing but you can read about how to tell the difference in my ’10 Ways to Say ‘Friend’ in German’ post.

Example Sentences

Ich bin seit 10 Jahren mit meinem Mann verheiratet.
I’ve been married to my husband for 10 years.
Ich war bis letztes Jahr mit meinem Freund zusammen, aber jetzt bin ich ledig.
I was with my boyfriend until last year but now I’m single.
Im Moment will ich keine Beziehung.
At the moment I don’t want a relationship.

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