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.
October 11th, 2016
Episode 674 of 823 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 11, 2016 is: scion \SYE-un\ noun 1 : a detached living portion of a plant (as a bud or shoot) joined to a stock in grafting and usually supplying solely aerial parts to a graft 2 : descendant, child; especially : a descendant of a wealthy, aristocratic, or influential family 3 : heir Examples: "The duke was the billionaire owner of swaths of central London, a friend of Britain's royal family and the scionof an aristocratic family stretching back to the Norman Conquest." — The Boston Herald, 14 Aug. 2016 "The vibe of the place is a mixture of old-school cool and Brit eccentric. There are poems etched onto the wall by the artist Hugo Guinness, … a scionof the famous Anglo-Irish brewing family." — Christa D'Souza, W, September 2016 Did you know? Scion derives from the Middle English sioun and Old French cion and is related to the Old English cīth and the Old High German kīdi (meaning "sprout" or "shoot"). When it first sprouted in English in the 14th century, scion meant "a shoot or twig." That sense withered in horticultural contexts, but the word branched out, adding the grafting-related meaning we know today. A figurative sense also blossomed referring to one's descendants, with particular reference to those who are descendants of notable families.