[fil-ee-uh l]


of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter: filial obedience.
noting or having the relation of a child to a parent.
Genetics. pertaining to the sequence of generations following the parental generation, each generation being designated by an F followed by a subscript number indicating its place in the sequence.

Origin of filial

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin fīliālis, equivalent to Latin fīli(us) son + -ālis -al1
Related formsfil·i·al·ly, adverbfil·i·al·ness, nounnon·fil·i·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for filial

familial, fraternal

Examples from the Web for filial

Contemporary Examples of filial

Historical Examples of filial

  • Filial devotion to her father had been one motive, but not the only one.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Her notions of filial duty, notwithstanding the persecutions she meets with.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Besides; if you are not filial, sir, if you discard that duty, you are at least—hum—not a Christian?

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Her filial piety gives her dreadful faith in a father's curses.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • He called him his son, but he required from him filial obedience.

    The Formation of Christendom, Volume VI

    Thomas W. (Thomas William) Allies

British Dictionary definitions for filial



of, resembling, or suitable to a son or daughterfilial affection
genetics designating any of the generations following the parental generation; F 1 indicates the first filial generation, F 2 the second, etcAbbreviation: F
Derived Formsfilially, adverbfilialness, noun

Word Origin for filial

C15: from Late Latin fīliālis, from Latin fīlius son
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for filial

late 14c., from Middle French filial, from Late Latin filialis "of a son or daughter," from Latin filius "son," filia "daughter," possibly from a suffixed form of PIE root *bheue- "to be, exist, grow" (see be), though *dhe(i)- "to suck, suckle" (see fecund) "is more likely" [Watkins].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

filial in Medicine




Relating to the relationship of offspring to parents.
In genetics, relating to a generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.