How To Talk About Family In Russian

Now you know what ‘babushka’ actually means.
How To Talk About Family In Russian

If you’re still rather green when it comes to the Russian language, you might still be laboring under the assumption that a babushka (бабушка) is what you call those nesting dolls you see in all the souvenir shops. If this is the case, then you heard it here first: babushka means “grandma.” That’s it. Although to be fair, it’s not hard to see how we conflated this word with dolls that represent strong matriarchal figures when it comes to family in Russian.

Traditionally, grandparents play an important role in the Russian family. Though nuclear families are becoming more normalized, it’s not uncommon to see three generations living under the same roof.

Respecting your elders is key in Russian society, and you’ll probably want to learn the proper vocabulary terms to talk about other members of the family in Russian. Below, you’ll find just about every term you could possibly need, together with audio pronunciation voiced by a native speaker.

Essential Vocab For Family In Russian

family — семья

relatives — родственники

close relatives — близкие родственники

extended family — дальние родственники

ancestor — предок

descendant — потомок

parents — родители

mother — мать

father — отец

children — дети

daughter — дочь

son — сын

brother — брат

sister — сестра

siblings — братья и сёстры (lit. “brothers and sisters”)

stepson — пасынок

half-brother — сводный брат

foster parents — приёмные родители

guardian — опекун

grandmother — бабушка

grandfather — дедушка

grandson — внук

granddaughter — внучка

nephew — племянник

niece — племянница

aunt — тётя

uncle — дядя

cousin — двоюродный брат (masc.)двоюродная сестра (fem.)

great-grandfather and great-grandmother — прадедушка и прабабушка

parents-in-law — тесть и тёща (lit. father-in-law and mother-in-law)

second cousin — троюродный брат (masc.) / троюродный сестра (fem.)

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Author Headshot
Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

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