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[fil-ee-uh l] /ˈfɪl i əl/
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 forms
filially, adverb
filialness, noun
nonfilial, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for filial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The root of all benevolent actions is filial piety and fraternal love.

    Pearls of Thought Maturin M. Ballou
  • Besides; if you are not filial, sir, if you discard that duty, you are at least—hum—not a Christian?

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • I may confess that something more than duty summoned me thither—something even stronger than filial affection.

    Lost Lenore Charles Beach
  • Nevertheless her filial piety was at that moment a touching sight.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • I may here note that Fitzjames's happiness in reviving the old bonds of filial affection was before long to be clouded.

  • Mrs. Linwood praised my filial devotion, my fortitude and heroism.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • Whence conjugal duty, paternal or maternal duty, filial duty, and fraternal duty.

    Elements of Morals Paul Janet
  • Every hour, nay, every moment I might say, my filial love and reverence increased.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
British Dictionary definitions for filial


of, resembling, or suitable to a son or daughter: filial affection
(genetics) designating any of the generations following the parental generation; F1 indicates the first filial generation, F2 the second, etc F
Derived Forms
filially, adverb
filialness, noun
Word Origin
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
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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
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filial in Medicine

filial fil·i·al (fĭl'ē-əl)

  1. Relating to the relationship of offspring to parents.

  2. 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.
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