Can I talk about my mother if somebody requests me to describe a relative who I am like? I wonder if a relative refers to my aunt, uncle or cousin, or it's just a member in my family such as my mom, dad, etc.

I've looked this word in Cambridge Dictionary and it says

a member of your family

  • Yes, you can; the OED defines relative as "One who is connected with another or others by blood or affinity; a kinsman.", which includes your parents.
    – user3395
    Sep 5 '17 at 12:20

There are some circumstances in which you might interpet the word "relatives" to exclude your parents and siblings. For example, if you normally live with your parents, and someone says to you, "Are you staying with relatives this weekend?", you might assume that they mean relatives other than the ones normally live with.

However, generally speaking, "relatives" includes your immediate family as well as more distant relatives. In fact, the person asking which relaive you resemble is more likely to have close relatives in mind than distant ones, if only because you're less likely to know whether you resemble a distant relative.

So, it's entirely legitimate to answer the question by saying you're like your mother or father. It's also entirely legitimate to answer it by saying you're like your aunt, uncle, grandfather, grandmother, cousin, or another relative of whom you have sufficient knowledge to answer the question.


Mostly we don't call mom, dad, wife, husband and siblings as relatives, they are called as family members. Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Nephew, etc are called as relatives. And if someone asks you that which relative do you like the most then don't tell about your family members.

Relatives are those person who are related to you by one of your family member.

  • 3
    Can you support this with some kind of reference? In my speech, "relative" and "family member" are synonyms. I'd need to say "immediate family member" to restrict the term to parents and siblings. And I don't have any short phrase to indicate "relatives other than immediate family members". I'd assume that a question asking about a relative could be answered with a parent, a sibling, an aunt/uncle, cousin, or a more distant relative.
    – The Photon
    Sep 5 '17 at 16:16
  • As per Oxford, a relative is A person connected by blood or marriage.. To most native speakers - relatives includes close family.
    – user68033
    Jun 6 '18 at 14:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.