Forrest Gump speaks to a woman about his childhood residence:

Forrest Gump: We lived about a quarter mile off Route 17, about a half mile from the town of Greenbow, Alabama. That's in the county of Greenbow. Our house had been in Mama's family since her grandpa's grandpa's grandpa had come across the ocean about 1,000 years ago, something like that.

What does "house been in one's family" mean?


2 Answers 2


It means that the same family (or at least some members of it) owned and lived in the same house for that time. (Forrest is exaggerating when he says '1000 years'. European settlement of America started in 1620, and in his state in the 1700s.)

  • A more formal way of saying the same thing is "Our house has been in the possession of Mama's family since ..."
    – Sydney
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 21:27

The idiom "something has been in (someone's) family" means it has been owned by the same family for a long period of time.

You can say "This painting has been in my family for three hundred years". It means that "members of my family have owned this painting for three hundred years".

Of course he is wrong about "1000 years". Much that Forrest says is wrong in detail. Not because he lies, but because he doesn't know or understand the true facts.

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