sci·​on | \ ˈsī-ən How to pronounce scion (audio) \

Definition of scion

1 : a detached living portion of a plant (such as a bud or shoot) joined to a stock in grafting and usually supplying solely aerial parts to a graft
2a : descendant, child especially : a descendant of a wealthy, aristocratic, or influential family
b : heir sense 1 scion of a railroad empire

Keep scrolling for more

Get Familial With Scion

Scion derives from the Middle English sioun and Old French cion and is related to the Old English cīth and the Old High German kīdi (meaning "sprout" or "shoot"). When it first sprouted in English in the 14th century, scion meant "a shoot or twig." That sense withered in horticultural contexts, but the word branched out, adding the grafting-related meaning we know today. A figurative sense also blossomed referring to one's descendants, with particular reference to those who are descendants of notable families.

Examples of scion in a Sentence

He's a scion of a powerful family.

Recent Examples on the Web

The 38-year-old scion of the nation’s most famous political family paid for a poll in recent weeks testing a matchup against the 73-year-old Markey, according to two Democratic operatives familiar with the poll. Victoria Mcgrane,, "Memo to Joe Kennedy: It’s still the people’s seat, not the Kennedy seat," 19 Aug. 2019 Many observers believed that Hamza, the young, millennial scion of the group’s founder, could be the answer to al-Qaeda’s prayers. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "Osama bin Laden’s son, the “Crown Prince of Terror,” is dead. Or is he?," 1 Aug. 2019 William Bruce Harrison, the scion to an oil fortune, now owns 19 mountains in Colorado. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "Who Gets to Own the West?," 22 June 2019 The scion of a political family and the son of a former governor, Mr Rosselló was only midway through his first term. A.r. | Chicago, The Economist, "The resignation of Ricardo Rosselló," 25 July 2019 Performing from memory, the scion of one of the world’s great guitar families held pavilion and lawn in the palms of his nigh-on-magical hands. Zachary Lewis,, "Heat prompts Cleveland Orchestra to rise on humid evenings at Blossom," 22 July 2019 At the age of 9, the young scion Cornelius Vanderbilt IV would set out daily with his mother on a two-hour round of visits to their Newport neighbors. Anne De Courcy, WSJ, "‘What Would Mrs. Astor Do?’ Review: The Arbitress of the Gilded Age," 29 Nov. 2018 Founded in 1905, the company is controlled by scions of J.R. Sweasy, who bought a majority stake soon after being elected general manager in 1919. Ruth Simon, WSJ, "Red Wing, Iconic U.S. Shoe Maker, Labors Mightily to Bring Production Home," 12 July 2019 Rahul Gandhi became party president in 2017 but could never shake the BJP’s portrait of him as the ineffectual scion of a corrupt dynasty. Niha Masih, Washington Post, "As Rahul Gandhi resigns, India’s founding dynasty nears an end," 3 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of scion

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scion

Middle English sioun, from Old French cion, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English cīth sprout, shoot, Old High German kīdi

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scion

Listen to Our Podcast about scion

Statistics for scion

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scion

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scion



English Language Learners Definition of scion

formal : a person who was born into a rich, famous, or important family
botany : a piece of a plant that is attached to part of another plant

More from Merriam-Webster on scion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scion

Britannica English: Translation of scion for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scion

What made you want to look up scion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!