Etymology
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family (n.)
Origin and meaning of family

early 15c., "servants of a household," from Latin familia "family servants, domestics collectively, the servants in a household," thus also "members of a household, the estate, property; the household, including relatives and servants," abstract noun formed from famulus "servant, slave," which is of unknown origin.

The Latin word rarely appears in the sense "parents with their children," for which domus (see domestic (adj.)) was used. Derivatives of famulus include famula "serving woman, maid," famulanter "in the manner of a servant," famulitas "servitude," familiaris "of one's household, private," familiaricus "of household slaves," familiaritas "close friendship."

In English, sense of "collective body of persons who form one household under one head and one domestic government, including parents, children, and servants, and as sometimes used even lodgers or boarders" [Century Dictionary] is from 1540s. From 1660s as "parents with their children, whether they dwell together or not," also in a more general sense, "persons closely related by blood, including aunts, uncles, cousins;" earlier "those who descend from a common progenitor, a house, a lineage" (1580s). Hence, "any group of things classed as kindred based on common distinguishing characteristics" (1620s); as a scientific classification, between genus and order, from 1753.

Latin familia often was glossed in Old English by hired, hyred "household, family, retinue" (for which see hide (n.2), and also by hiwscipe, hiwræden, hiwan "members of a family, household,  or religious house," which is cognate with Old Norse hjon "one of the household; married couple, man and wife; domestic servant," and with Old High German hiwo "husband," hiwa "wife," also with Lithuanian šeimyna "family," Gothic haims "village," Old English ham "village, home" (see home (n.)). A 15c. glossary has, for Latin familia, Middle English a menge, from Anglo-French maisnie "the household, the whole attendance upon the personal establishment of the feudal lord."

As an adjective from c. 1600; with the meaning "suitable for a family," by 1807. Family values is recorded by 1966. Phrase in a family way "pregnant" is from 1796. Family circle is 1809; family man "man devoted to wife and children, man inclined to lead a domestic life" is 1856 (earlier it meant "thief," 1788, from family in a slang sense of "the fraternity of thieves"). Family tree "graph of ancestral relations" attested from 1752.

He was dressed in his best Coat, which had served him in the same Capacity before my Birth, and possibly, might be but little short in Antiquity, to the Root of his third Family Tree; and indeed, he made a venerable Figure in it. ["A Genuine Account of the Life and Transactions of Howell ap David Price, Gentleman of Wales," London, 1752]
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parent (n.)

early 15c. (late 12c. as a surname), "a mother or father; a forebear, ancestor," from Old French parent "father, parent, relative, kin" (11c.) and directly from Latin parentem (nominative parens) "father or mother, ancestor," noun use of present participle of parire "bring forth, give birth to, produce," from PIE root *pere- (1) "to produce, bring forth." Began to replace native elder after c. 1500.

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parent (v.)

1660s, transitive, "be or act as a parent to," from parent (n.). Intransitive sense of "be a parent" is by 1959. Related: Parented; parenting.

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single (n.)

c. 1400, "unmarried person," mid-15c., "a person alone, an individual," from single (adj.). Of single things from 1640s. From the broad sense of "that which is single" it was given various technical meanings from 16c.

The sports senses are attested from 1851 (cricket, "hit for which one run is scored") and 1858 (baseball, "one-base hit"). The meaning "one-dollar bill" is by 1936. The meaning "phonograph record with one song on each side" is from 1949. The sense of "unmarried swinger" is from 1964; singles bar, catering to the young and unmarried, is attested from 1969. An earlier modern word for "unmarried or unattached person" is singleton (1937).

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single (adj.)

early 14c., "unmarried," from Old French sengle, sangle "alone, unaccompanied; simple, unadorned," from Latin singulus "one, one to each, individual, separate" (usually in plural singuli "one by one"), from PIE *semgolo‑, suffixed (diminutive?) form of root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with."

The meaning "consisting of one unit, individual, unaccompanied by others" is from late 14c., often merely emphatic. The meaning "undivided" is from 1580s. Single-parent (adj.) is attested from 1966.

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single (v.)

"to separate from the herd" (originally in hunting, often with forth or out), "select individually from among a number," 1570s, from single (adj.). The baseball sense of "make a one-base hit" is from 1899 (from the noun meaning "one-base hit," which is attested from 1858). Related: Singled; singling.

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single-handed (adj.)

1709, "done alone, acting or working without the aid of others," from single (adj.) + -handed. The meaning "capable of being used by one hand only" is from 1834; that of "using one hand only" is from 1844. Related: Single-handedly.

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single-minded (adj.)

1570s, "sincere, honest, free from duplicity;" see single (adj.) + -minded. The meaning "having a single aim or purpose, unswerving, undeviating" is by 1860.  Related: Single-mindedly; single-mindedness. Single-hearted (1570s) is only in the sense of "having a sincere or honest heart."

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parentage (n.)

late 15c., "parental conduct, parental relationship exhibited in the recognition and care of children," from Old French parentage (12c.), from parent (see parent (n.)). Meaning "descent or derivation from parents, lineage" is from 1560s; figurative use from 1580s. An earlier word was parage "descent, lineage; family," late 13c., from Old French.

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