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What Does It Mean If Someone Is Your "Flesh and Blood"?

The phrase "flesh and blood" signifies a deep, biological connection, typically used to describe a close family member. It underscores the shared genetics and profound bonds that unite us with our kin. This connection goes beyond mere DNA, often encompassing shared experiences and emotional ties. But how does this bond shape our identity and relationships? Let's explore this together.
Alicia Sparks
Alicia Sparks

If someone is your flesh and blood, it means that person is related to you. That person is biologically part of your family, and might be one of your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, or cousins. The family member shares the same biological makeup as you, or, shares your “flesh and blood.” People use the saying “flesh and blood” during different instances, some positive and some negative. Similar to other idiomatic expressions, “flesh and blood” can hold a variety of meanings and be used during an assortment of instances, and taking note of these can help avoid confusion.

Calling someone your flesh and blood means you are recognizing that person as a part of your biological family. You might have other family members who are not biologically related to you, such as adopted family members or foster care family members. Too, people often consider people who are not actually related to them as being members of their family. For example, people often consider longtime and close family friends as being part of their extended family, although they are not technically related and therefore do not share the same flesh or blood.

Three generations of one family.
Three generations of one family.

People often use the idiom “flesh and blood” during a variety of situations. Some of these scenarios are pleasant, and others are tense. For example, the saying might be meant to express a sense of pride, such as when a father notes that his award-winning daughter came from his flesh and his blood. Sometimes, the saying is used during tenser or more negative situation. For example, if a family’s father dies and leaves all his belongings to his best friend, his children might feel as if they should be the benefactors since they are of his flesh and his blood and his best friend is not related to him.

Many fathers like to note that their daughters come from their own "flesh and blood."
Many fathers like to note that their daughters come from their own "flesh and blood."

Noting the biological family relationship between two people is one of the most common meanings of the idiom “flesh and blood.” Still, there are other meanings, and noting these differences can make the first meaning clearer. For example, when a person is described as being flesh and blood, it doesn’t always mean he is the family member of the speaker. Sometimes, the saying is being used to point out the person is a living, breathing creature. Generally, other qualities such as having human thoughts, feelings, and emotions, as well as regular strengths and weaknesses, are included, too.

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Discussion Comments


I've experienced the negative side of "flesh and blood" myself over the years. There have been times when I've felt torn between friends who have established a bond with me and relatives who have barely spoken to me. A ne'er do well cousin may be flesh and blood, but if I'm in a position to help out someone finanically, I'll choose a good friend over family almost every time. "Flesh and blood" can only go so far.

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    • Three generations of one family.
      By: Monkey Business
      Three generations of one family.
    • Many fathers like to note that their daughters come from their own "flesh and blood."
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Many fathers like to note that their daughters come from their own "flesh and blood."