pg_opfamily defines operator families. Each operator family is a collection of operators and associated support routines that implement the semantics specified for a particular index access method. Furthermore, the operators in a family are all “compatible”, in a way that is specified by the access method. The operator family concept allows cross-data-type operators to be used with indexes and to be reasoned about using knowledge of access method semantics.
Operator families are described at length in Section 36.16.