'My family is very united' Vs 'my family is very close-knit'

< Previous | Next >
Hello everyone,

What is the difference between:

a. My family is very united.
b. My family is very close-knit.

United means: in agreement and working together.
Close-knit means: having a close realationship.

Could you help me with more definitions?

*The dictionaries I looked it up in didn't say much.

Thank you in advance!
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    You can have a very close-knit relationship without being in agreement. :) To me, that's the primary difference. A close-knit family, to me, is full of people who are involved in each other's lives, who are aware of small and large events in each other's lives and are very supportive of each other in times of trouble. They may disagree about everything but still be very close-knit.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would only use "My family is united" if the context made it very clear what we were united about.

    I would not use "My family is very united". To me, a family is either united or it isn't.
    "Very united" has no specific meaning, unless you choose to use "united" as a synonym of "close-knit". I wouldn't.


    Senior Member
    Just one question: if we skip the : "-knit" part, saying our family is really close, would that be acceptable? Thank you all for your insights. M&L


    Senior Member
    It sounds perfectly normal in American English: "My family is very close." It's a little ambiguous, depending on context. It could mean that they are nearby or that they are close-knit. I would expect to hear "My family is very close", though, before I heard "My family is very close-knit".


    Senior Member
    Thank you James, that's exactly what I wanted to know. By the way, the possible ambiguity aspect is something interesting - I didn't really think of that problem, but having read your post, it does make a lot of sense. Thank you. ;) M&L


    Senior Member
    Just one more problem - the feeling of these statements (my opinion):
    My family is very united. - formal, cold, a bit factual...
    My family is very close-knit. - sophisticated, legal, tricky or something in that manner.
    My family is very close. - colloquial, warm and cool.
    Thank you.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    In AE as in BE, "very united" would not be used; a family (or, for that matter, a political party or any group) either is united or it isn't; there aren't degrees of being united. But that's not the word you want in describing relationships within the family. For that, I think close works very well.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    If I heard "my family is united" I would be puzzled and I'd ask what they are "united" about. It isn't idomatic. Mike, your feelings about the options are not accurate.

    < Previous | Next >