Family Members and Relationships in Arabic

Grandmother and Grandfather Holding Child on Their Lap

In this post, we are going to talk about the Family Members in Arabic. The word “Family” in Arabic may be used in two cases:
1- When pointing to one’s small family which consists of the father, the mother, and their children together. In this case, the word Family in Arabic is translated as “Usrah” (      أسرة ), and the word Family Members in Arabic is translated as “Afradu Al-Usrah” (      أفراد الأسرة ).

2- When pointing to the big family which may include one’s grandparents, uncles, cousins, in-laws, etc… In this case, the word Family in Arabic is translated as “‘Ailah” (      عائلة ), and the word Family Members in Arabic is translated as “Afradu Al-‘Ailah” (      أفراد العائلة ).

NB: Sometimes the Arabic word “‘Ailah” (      عائلة ) can be used interchangeably to indicate both small and big family in Arabic. However, the word “Usrah” (      أسرة ) is always used to indicate one’s small family as explained previously.
Family Members in Arabic
Now after this small introduction let’s start learning how to speak the names of your family members in Arabic. Here are the names for the most common relatives and some of the uncommon ones:

FatherAb      أب
MotherUm      أم
Parent (father)Wālid      والد
Parent (mother)Wālidah      والدة
ParentsAbā’      أباء
Child (m)Tifl      طفل
Child (f)Tiflah      طفلة
ChildrenAtfāl      أطفال
SonIbn      ابن
DaughterIbnah      ابنة
BrotherAkh      أخ
SisterUkht      أخت
GrandfatherJad      جد
GrandmotherJaddah      جدة
GrandsonḤafīd      حفيد
GranddaughterḤafīdah      حفيدة
GrandchildrenAḥfād      أحفاد
Uncle (paternal)‘Am      عم
Uncle (maternal)Khāl      خال
Aunt (paternal)‘Ammah      عمة
Aunt (maternal)Khālah      خالة
Cousin (male) – (paternal)Ibnu Al-‘Am      إبن العم
Cousin (male) – (maternal)Ibnu Al-Khāl      إبن الخال
Cousin (female) – (paternal)Bintu Al-‘Am      بنت العم
Cousin (female) – (maternal)Bintu Al-Khāl      بنت الخال
Nephew (brother’s son)Ibnu Al-Akh      إبن الأخ
Nephew (sister’s son)Ibnu Al-Ukht      إبن الأخت
Niece (brother’s daughter)Ibnatu Al-Akh      إبنة الأخ
Niece (sister’s daughter)Ibnatu Al-Ukht      إبنة الأخت
FianceKhatīb      خطيب
FianceeKhatībah      خطيبة
Bride‘Arūss      عروس
Groom‘Arīss      عريس
WifeZawjah      زوجة
HusbandZawj      زوج
Spouse (m)Qarīn      قرين
Spouse (f)Qarīnah      قرينة
Father-in-law (husband’s father)Ḥamw      حَمْو
Mother-in-law (husband’s mother)Ḥamāh      حماة
Father-in-law (wife’s father)Nassīb      نسيب
Mother-in-law (wife’s mother)Nassībah      نسيبة
Parents-in-lawAsshār / Nasāyeb      أصهار /       نسايب
Son-in-law (husband’s son)Ibnu Az-Zawj      ابن الزوج
Son-in-law (wife’s son)Ibnu Az-Zawjah      ابن الزوجة
Daughter-in-law (husband’s daughter)Bintu Az-Zawj      بنت الزوج
Daughter-in-law (wife’s daughter)Bintu Az-Zawjah      بنت الزوجة
Brother-in-law (husband’s brother)Okhu Az-Zawj      أخو الزوج
Brother-in-law (wife’s brother)Okhu Az-Zawjah      أخو الزوجة
Sister-in-law (husband’s sister)Okhtu Az-Zawj      أخت الزوج
Sister-in-law (wife’s sister)Okhtu Az-Zawjah      أخت الزوجة

In Arabic, the daughter or sister’s husband is called “Sihr”       صهر . The same word can also be used to mean “son-in-law”. For a wife the father of her husband is called “Ḥamw”       حَمْو and his mother is called “Ḥamāh”       حماة while for the husband, the father of his wife is called “Nassīb”       نسيب while her mother is called “Nassībah”       نسيبة . More names are used when it comes to in-law relations and they differ quite considerably from one Arabic country to another. You’ll be surprised how many names are used to distinguish each and every relative, so to play it safe, let’s just call them “Nassīb”       نسيب for an in-law male or “Nassībah”       نسيبة for an in-law female.


  1. you’re saying it correctly 🙂 Abi, Better to call him Baba if he is from Arabic descent.

  2. Hey, I like this. 🙂 I was wondering, what would an orphaned and then adopted arab call her adoptive (otherwise unrelated) dad? I’ve been using Ab, and want to be sure of what I’m doing.

  3. How do I address my maternal aunts (Khalty) husband? Is it Khally?

    And what about my maternal uncles wife? Khalty?

  4. Hi Bri, here is your answer; the “big sister” translate as الأخت الكبيرة and the “little sister” translate as الأخت الصغيرة. However these Arabic translations don’t really sound as good as they do in English. (none of my business but) I personally, advise you to think twice before getting these tattoos 🙂 I’ve seen people with Arabic tattoos that were either poorly written or were meaningless. There’s get to be a better way to celebrate your Lebanese heritage and love for your sister (Take a trip together to Lebanon, It’s a beautiful country).


  5. Hi, my sister and I want to celebrate our Lebanese heritage by getting tattoos but we need to know the correct way to write ” big sister” ” little sister” properly as it will be a permanent tattoo on our bodies!

  6. Hey, just wanted to say thank you for this website! I’m a ESL teacher working with alot of Middle Eastern, Arabic speaking students, and it’s been incredibly helpful.

  7. aslema lebes i am a irishman who is geeting married to a tunisian woman, i would love to be able to have some small talk with my wife to be learning arabic would be the ideal thing for me i know she will teach me a lot but i would like to leearn more…………please any help in this matter would be grateful thank you for this page here it is most enlightening contact me anytime with whatever you can give me thank you once again bislaama

  8. I would love to learn the Arbic language due to me dating an Arbic man and I would like to speak to him in his language instead of just mines

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