nuclear family

noun
a social unit composed of two parents and one or more children.
Compare extended family.


Origin:
1945–50

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
nuclear family
 
n
sociol, anthropol Compare extended family a primary social unit consisting of parents and their offspring

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

nuclear family n.
A family unit consisting of a mother and father and their progeny.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

nuclear family definition


A type of family made up only of parents and their children. (Compare extended family.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

nuclear family

in sociology and anthropology, a group of people who are united by ties of partnership and parenthood and consisting of a pair of adults and their socially recognized children. Typically, but not always, the adults in a nuclear family are married. Although such couples are most often a man and a woman, the definition of the nuclear family has expanded with the advent of same-sex marriage. Children in a nuclear family may be the couple's biological or adopted offspring.

Learn more about nuclear family with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Their decline discredited social models, such as the nuclear family, which had
  begun to replace the old patriarchal clan system.
The decline of communities appears to have followed the demise of the nuclear
  family.
Biological parenthood in a nuclear family need not be the be-all and end-all of
  womanhood-and in fact it increasingly is not.
The nuclear family had long been the unit of production.
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