Slang dictionary


[ fam ]

What does fam mean?

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

Hey fam, you’re part of our family, don’t worry.

Related words

it's lit, best friend, gurlfriend, 👪 Family emoji, ohana, la familia, Mi Gente

Where does 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 on may be your Twitter fam.

The Times (London)

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 ‘fuck 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.

Examples of fam

make sure people don’t take you for a dickhead fam
@PAWSAofficial, December, 2018

The Queen Reportedly Has A V. Wacky Rule She Makes Her Fam Follow On Xmas Day

Matt Galea, PEDESTRIAN.TV (headline), December, 2018
Meme Center

Who uses 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.

Just Added

beekeeping age, mi amor, Galentine's Day, feminine energy, piqued my interest


This is not meant to be a formal definition of fam like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of fam that will help our users expand their word mastery.