Definition: All members of your domestic circle, human and animal (Merriam-Webster Online).

Sample usage: “We had to put down a member of the furmily last week. And Rover’s not looking good, either.”

Popularity: If you use “fur children” to distinguish pets from your “skin children,” you’ll like the word. But “family” is fur-neutral, whereas “furmily” implies Dad doesn’t belong if he shaves his back hair.

 

JAMES LILEKS

 

Interested in other words we’ve dissected? See more from the archive at startribune.com/word.