• synonyms


  1. a male child or person in relation to his parents.
  2. a male child or person adopted as a son; a person in the legal position of a son.
  3. any male descendant: a son of the Aztecs.
  4. a son-in-law.
  5. a person related as if by ties of sonship.
  6. a male person looked upon as the product or result of particular agencies, forces, influences, etc.: a true son of the soil.
  7. a familiar term of address to a man or boy from an older person, an ecclesiastic, etc.
  8. the Son, the second person of the Trinity; Jesus Christ.
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Origin of son

before 900; Middle English sone, Old English sunu; cognate with Dutch zoon, German Sohn, Old Norse sunr, sonr, Gothic sunus, Lithuanian sūnùs, Sanskrit sūnus; akin to Greek huiós
Related formsson·less, adjectiveson·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sonless

Historical Examples

  • You do not yet know what it is to have a sonless son in peril.

    Vittoria, Complete

    George Meredith

  • Surely, sonless as I am, it is the gods that have sent him unto me!'

  • And that same (king) of a dreaded name was sonless, O descendant of Bharata!

  • Spake the ancient Dhrita-rashtra, father of a hundred sons, Sonless now and sorrow-stricken, dark his ebbing life-tide runs!



  • Being a sonless father, he thinks of the sons who have no fathers to do for them what he was so fain to do for his.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for sonless


  1. a male offspring; a boy or man in relation to his parents
  2. a male descendant
  3. (often capital) a familiar term of address for a boy or man
  4. a male from a certain country, place, etc, or one closely connected with a certain environmenta son of the circus; a son of the manse
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Related formsRelated adjective: filial
Derived Formssonless, adjectivesonlike, adjective

Word Origin

Old English sunu; related to Old Norse sunr, Gothic sunus, Old High German sunu, Lithuanian sūnus, Sanskrit sūnu


  1. Christianity the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ
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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 sonless


late 14c., from son + -less.

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Old English sunu "son, descendant," from Proto-Germanic *sunuz (cf. Old Saxon and Old Frisian sunu, Old Norse sonr, Danish søn, Swedish son, Middle Dutch sone, Dutch zoon, Old High German sunu, German Sohn, Gothic sunus "son").

The Germanic words are from PIE *su(e)-nu- "son" (cf. Sanskrit sunus, Greek huios, Avestan hunush, Armenian ustr, Lithuanian sunus, Old Church Slavonic synu, Russian and Polish syn "son"), a derived noun from root *seue- (1) "to give birth" (cf. Sanskrit sauti "gives birth," Old Irish suth "birth, offspring"). Son of _____ as the title of a sequel to a book or movie is recorded from 1929 ("Son of Tarzan").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sonless


In addition to the idiom beginning with son

  • song and dance
  • son of a bitch

also see:

  • favorite son
  • like father, like son
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.