extended family

(noun) A nuclear family (a couple and their children) and close relatives living in the same household or in proximity to each other, often spanning several generations.

Example: A couple and their children living with or near their aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, nieces and nephew, etc.

Audio Pronunciation: (ex·tend·ed fam·i·ly)

Download Audio Pronunciation: extended family.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: extended families
  • This is a simplified definition of a vast continuum of societal and cultural practices. The variations of extended families are seemingly endless and constantly evolving.
  • This term is sometimes limited to people living in the same household.
  • Extended families are more common in preindustrial societies, than industrial societies.
  • Extended families, depending on the kinship system and residence rules, stress the distinction between cross-cousins and parallel cousins.
  • While often used interchangeably with extended family, consanguine family and joint family are specifics types of extended families. A consanguine family is created by blood ties instead of marital ties and the spouses share a common ancestor. A joint family is when one or more nuclear families combine to share resources such as two siblings who move their families into the same household.
  • The increase on travel and interconnectedness due to the Internet and telecommunications as given rise to dispersed extended families or modified extended families which are decentralized families that remain in contact with each other.
  • Extended family used in a sentence: Alexis and Bailey feel it is important for their children to spend time with their extended family.

Additional Information:

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How to Cite the Definition of Extended Family

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “extended family.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 12, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/extended-family/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

extended family. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/extended-family/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “extended family.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/extended-family/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“extended family.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/extended-family/>.