Word of the Day : May 21, 2013


adjective FIL-ee-ul


1 : of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter

2 : having or assuming the relation of a child or offspring

Did You Know?

"Filial" is descended from Latin "filius," meaning "son," and "filia," meaning "daughter," and in English (where it has been used since at least the 14th century) it has always applied to both sexes. 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. You might suspect that "filia" is also the source of the word "filly," meaning "a young female horse" or "a young girl," but it isn't. Rather, "filly" is from Old Norse "fylja."


Margaret's sense of filial responsibility is only part of her motivation for carrying on her parents' business; she also loves the work.

"Confucianism, which emphasizes filial piety, has been the bedrock of Korean society for hundreds of years and, historically, older citizens would rely on their children to take care of them." - From an article by Audrey Yoo in Time, March 25, 2013

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "demulcent," our Word of the Day from April 21? The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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