Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
August 11th, 2016
Episode 613 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 11, 2016 is: filial \FIL-ee-ul\ adjective 1 : of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter 2 : having or assuming the relation of a child or offspring Examples: Margaret's sense of filial responsibility is only part of her motivation for carrying on her parents' business; she also loves the work. "Though initially reluctant, the old champ agrees to coach the young boxer, and they form afilialbond that grows in tandem with the stakes they face." — Sandy Cohen, The Post & Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), 24 Nov. 2015 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.