July 07, 2013
familial (adjective)
\fuh-MIL-yul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: of, relating to, or typical of a family
How do you use it?
Miranda's relatives have such a strong familial tie that several of them live within blocks of one another.
Are you a word wiz?

Which of the following words below do you think shares a root word with "familial"?

Answer A, "familiar," is definitely one of the family! "Familial" and "familiar" -- meaning "a close associate" or "companion" -- both trace to the Latin word "familia," meaning "family." Unsurprisingly, our word "family" also comes from "familia." "Familial" is the youngest of the three. It was first adopted by French from Latin, and then around the 1900s, it came into the family of English words. "Family" is the next oldest; it entered English in the 1400s. "Familiar" dates all the way back to the 1200s, making it the eldest of these three members of the "familia" family.
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