There must be a difference between "familiare" and "parente", since they are both used in the extract below, but what is it? Can "familiare" be used as "acquaintance"?

La famiglia italiana è un ufficio di collocamento per i figli: un connazionale su tre dice d'aver trovato l'occupazione grazie a familiari e parenti. Metà degli ingegneri, il 40 per cento dei dentisti e il 25 per cento dei notai hanno ereditato il mestiere dei genitori.

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    Where does this sentence comes from? The two words are pretty synonymous, and the use of both seems more rhetoric device to strengthen the concept.
    – DaG
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 7:21
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    Whoever wrote that text might perhaps have intended parenti e affini, which are indeed two different, legally defined, things.
    – DaG
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 7:37
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    It is from an article "La testa degli italiani", by Beppe Severgnini.
    – Vic
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 7:52
  • Maybe "familiari" refers only to the close relatives, ie. mother, father, sister, brother?
    – Vic
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Familiare (or famigliare) and parente are mostly synonyms, both meaning “relative”, a member of the same family.

I am ready to stand corrected, but my impression is that the writer just intended to stress his thesis about the familist approach in finding a job, rather than distinguishing two actually different categories. It would be a kind of dittologia sinonimica, the figure of speech consisting in highlighting a concept by saying it twice using synonyms (felice e contento, canuto e bianco, passi tardi e lenti).

Moreover, the writer might have been influenced by some actual, often used, phrases as amici e parenti (“friends and relatives”) or parenti e affini (“blood and in-law relatives”).

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