Definition of 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 of Extended Family
- A couple and their children living with or near their aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, nieces and nephews, etc.
Extended Family Pronunciation
Syllabification: ex·tend·ed fam·i·ly
- American English – /ik-stEn-duhd fAm-lee/
- British English – /ik-stEn-did fAm-uh-lee/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ɪkˈstɛndəd ˈfæməli/
- British English – /ɪksˈtɛndɪd ˈfæmɪli/
- 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 specific 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 of travel and interconnectedness due to the Internet and telecommunications has given rise to dispersed extended families or modified extended families, which are decentralized families that remain in contact with each other.
- “Families of orientation, procreation, and cohabitation provide us with some of the most important roles we will assume in life. The nuclear family roles (such as parent, child, husband, wife, and sibling) combine with extended family roles (such as grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, and in-law) to form the kinship system” (Strong, Devault, and Cohen 2011:19).
- Family and Kinship Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “extended” and “family” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- family life cycle
- family of orientation
- family of procreation
- fictive kin
- nuclear family
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Cite the Definition of Extended Family
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “extended family.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (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 June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/extended-family/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“extended family.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/extended-family/>.