[ fam ]
/ fæm /
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noun Informal.
a close friend or group of friends thought of as family: All these guys are my fam.
family: Most of my fam is in New York.
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Origin of fam

By shortening

Other definitions for fam (2 of 4)


abbreviation Trademark.
the Family Channel: a cable television channel.

Other definitions for fam (3 of 4)



Other definitions for fam (4 of 4)


or F. & A.M.

Free and Accepted Masons.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does fam mean?

Fam, short for family, is a slang word used for one’s close friends—your people.

Where did the term fam come from?

Many English speakers have abbreviated fam to family for blood/domestic relations, but fam as slang for one’s “people” originates in Black English and has been documented since at least the early 2000s. It also has a history of use in urban British slang as well.

Fam are usually not parents, siblings, and relatives, but intimate friends you confide in and trust and who always have your back. For instance, your pals on Twitter may be your Twitter fam.

In 2014, the Twitter account @WorldStarFunny posted an image of a man with a strange haircut captioned: “he sat in the barbers chair and just said ‘f*ck my whole life up fam’.” This inspired a meme, and since then, images of people with unusual hairdos have circulated the internet, featuring fam in the caption.

Fam had another big moment in 2016. MTV covered it in an article about new slang, and it was frequently discussed on various Reddit subreddits, including r/BlackPeopleTwitter and r/OutOfTheLoop. This helped it spread, especially on social media.

How to use the term fam

The slang fam isn’t usually used for blood/domestic family, but many people may casually abbreviate that family to fam, too.

A typical slang fam usage would be addressing your friends (e.g., Hey fam, you alright?) and isn’t restricted by quantity. Fam could be one person (She is my fam) or one hundred (dictionary lovers are my fam).

Fam is still widely used in Black communities but has since spread into mainstream slang in texting, social media, and speech.

Fam also often appears in other slang phrases. Notably, it’s paired with it’s lit, fam (“It’s excellent, friends”) and nah fam (“I don’t think so, guys”). It can also, of course, be used by itself.

More examples of fam:

“The Queen Reportedly Has A V. Wacky Rule She Makes Her Fam Follow On Xmas Day”
—Matt Galea, PEDESTRIAN.TV (headline), December 2018


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use fam in a sentence