fil·​ial | \ ˈfi-lē-əl How to pronounce filial (audio) , ˈfil-yəl \

Definition of filial

1 : of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter filial obedience filial love
2 : having or assuming the relation of a child or offspring The new village has a filial relationship with the original settlement.

Other Words from filial

filially \ ˈfi-​lē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce filial (audio) , ˈfil-​yə-​lē \ adverb

Filial Has Familial Origins

Filial comes from Latin filius, meaning "son," and filia, "daughter"; in English, it applies to any gender. The word has long carried the dutiful sense "owed to a parent by a child," as found in such phrases as "filial respect" and "filial piety." These days it can also be used more generally for any emotion or behavior of a child to a parent.

Examples of filial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Stream assumed his filial responsibilities in 2004, at a time when diversifying beyond oil and gas was becoming increasingly important to the family and the region. Wired, 29 July 2022 Since the holiday is all about filial piety (which is service and respect to one's parents, elders, and ancestors), there are several traditional practices associated with the day, as well as taboos. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, 14 July 2022 That trustworthiness isn’t confined to the filial and social circles. Jon Michail, Forbes, 24 June 2022 To find answers means more truth, less filial piety, and God knows how much more time. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 Once it was decided the summit would be held in the U.S. for the first time since the inaugural session in 1994, organizers thought Los Angeles was a natural fit given its strong cultural, economic, filial and political ties to Latin America. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2022 Though this kind of lawsuit is rare, the topic of familial obligation has long been controversial in India, where carrying on the family line and caring for elderly parents and in-laws is often seen as a filial duty. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 17 May 2022 Once in the capital, James sinks deep into the filial and political dysfunction of the kingdom. Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2022 At times scathing and hilarious, the rollicking tale considers the thorny themes of assimilation, identity, pride, filial piety, transracial adoption, and interracial relationships. Chloe Schama, Vogue, 20 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'filial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of filial

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for filial

Middle English, from Late Latin filialis, from Latin filius son — more at feminine

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The first known use of filial was in the 14th century

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filial generation

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Filial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for filial


fil·​ial | \ ˈfi-lē-əl How to pronounce filial (audio) , ˈfil-yəl \

Kids Definition of filial

: relating to or suitable for a son or daughter filial affection

More from Merriam-Webster on filial

Nglish: Translation of filial for Spanish Speakers


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