In English there is siblings, in German Geschwister. To the best of my knowledge, French does not have a single word but rather uses (les) frères et sœurs construction.

So does French lack indeed a single word as I think, for such a basic situation? Can we use sibling(s) as it is in French?


There is a term: "fratrie", but it lacks the non-gender feeling that siblings has. I think that's why it's not used as often as in other languages, because of this bias.

Still "fratrie" encompasses brothers and sisters in a family.

  • 1
    Merci. Like fratelli in Italian language and fratria in Greek language. – Dimitris Dec 22 '18 at 21:13
  • Yes, exactly. Obviously same roots here :) – Matthieu Brucher Dec 22 '18 at 21:14

There is a word : adelphe. It is not really used anymore, but it has exactly the same meaning as sibling in english.


Sibling used to mean relative, brothers-and-sisters is a modern evolution of this ancient germanic word.

Geschwister has a feminine bias (Schwester).

Fratrie has a masculine bias (frère).

All these words, included the French word contrary to your supposition, are used to mean brothers-and-sisters, but not the Greek φρατρία the meaning of which being more tribe than family (another evolution of the Indo-european root).


Complément : il y a quelques attestations du mot "sibling(s)" en francais (ngram). Selon https://fr.wiktionary.org c'est rare. Le même lemme indique que germain est plus courant (pour l'anthropologie ; merci @Gilles !).

  • Attention, c'est un terme technique d'anthropologie que >99% des Français ne comprendraient pas. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Sep 21 at 8:45
  • @Gilles C'est noté ; réponse modifiée. Merci ! – Dimitris Sep 21 at 9:23

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