March 31st, 2005

water is thicker than blood

What is your definition of "family"?

This is something I wonder about quite a bit, possibly because I'm single but really enjoyed the experience I've had of growing up in a large family. How does one define family, in a pratical sense? How do other people (such as you, my readers) define it?

What makes people family?

The Oxford English Dictionary gives us this definition:


• noun (pl. families)
1 a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.
2 a group of people related by blood or marriage.
3 the children of a person or couple.
4 all the descendants of a common ancestor.
5 all the languages derived from a particular early language.
6 a group united by a significant shared characteristic.

According to this linguistic definition, and probably most people's common definitions, a "family" is a group related by blood or marriage.

To me, that doesn't seem to be quite broad enough.

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So--I would be deeply interested to hear your takes on family, O flist. Share, if you will!