Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to a family.
  • adj. Occurring or tending to occur among members of a family, usually by heredity: familial traits; familial disease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to human family.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to any grouping of things referred to as a family.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. relating to or having the characteristics of a family.
  • adj. tending to occur among members of a family, usually by hereditary transmission.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Occurring in members of the same family, though not necessarily hereditary: said of certain diseases, especially of the nervous system.
  • As in a family; family-like.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. occurring among members of a family usually by heredity
  • adj. relating to or having the characteristics of a family

Etymologies

From the Latin familia suffixed with -al. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Very similar to filial.

    June 18, 2009

  • Coined towards 1900 as a medical term, effectively a synonym for 'hereditary', as the older adjective 'familiar' was unsuitable. (In Latin the adjectival ending -al- dissimilated away from a previous medial /l/.)

    June 17, 2009