Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter: filial respect.
  • adj. Having or assuming the relationship of child or offspring to parent.
  • adj. Genetics Of or relating to a generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pertaining to or befitting a son or daughter.
  • adj. Respectful of the duties and attitudes of a son or daughter toward their parents.
  • adj. Of a generation or generations descending from a specific previous one.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a son or daughter; becoming to a child in relation to his parents.
  • adj. Bearing the relation of a child.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to a son or daughter; becoming to or due from a child in relation to the parents.
  • Bearing the relation of a child.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. designating the generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation
  • adj. relating to or characteristic of or befitting an offspring

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin fīliālis, from Latin fīlius, son; see dhē(i)- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English filial, from Latin fīliālis, from filius ("son") / filia ("daughter").

Examples

  • As this dependence on the mother church may be of various degrees, the term filial church may have naturally more than one signification as to minor details.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6: Fathers of the Church-Gregory XI

  • When followed by l the history of f was like that of c and g: the result for all three was a palatalized l which soon began to be represented by ll (approximate to li in English "filial": flamma, Span. llama, clamare, Span. llamar, etc.).

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

  • Fortunately, at least the Spanish Church has issued a nice communiqué in filial support of our great Benedict XVI.

    Cardinal Cañizares on Liturgical Reforms, Summorum Pontificum

  • It is true that the subjected church does not lose its parochial rights, yet its dependence on the parish priest of another church and its administration by a vicar has led to its being included loosely under the designation filial church.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6: Fathers of the Church-Gregory XI

  • With never a hint of anything to fill the place of the much-discussed attribute we call filial instinct in the young of human kind, the black-and-gray pup conceived the greatest admiration for his father.

    Jan A Dog and a Romance

  • Lady Mar gazed with a weird frown on the lovely form of Helen, as she wound her exquisitely turned arms around the earl in filial tenderness.

    The Scottish Chiefs

  • Eleanor could not absent herself neither; she tried that; her father would have her there; and there was Mr. Carlisle, as much at home, and sharing with her in filial offices as a matter of rule, and associating with her as already one of the family.

    The Old Helmet

  • 'But, Sir! but my father!' cried Camilla, hanging over him, and losing in filial tenderness her personal distresses; 'if your manner of living is altered, and my dear mother returns home and sees you relinquishing any of your small, your temperate indulgencies, may it not yet more embitter her sufferings and her displeasure for the unhappy cause?

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth

  • Again filial gratitude silenced all but itself, and sleep, the softest she had known for many months, soon gave to oblivion every care in

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth

  • 'Yes, Sir,' cried Eugenia, 'your kind task is now completed with your vanquished Eugenia! her thoughts, her occupations, her happiness, shall henceforth all be centred in filial gratitude and contentment.'

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth

Comments

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  • Philadelphia: brotherly love

    June 4, 2014

  • Odd. One would expect *filiar with the usual Latin dissimilation of -al- from preceding medial /l/, but (Late) Latin had only the form filialis.

    June 18, 2009

  • His words here ended, but his meek aspect

    Silent yet spake, and breath'd immortal love

    To mortal men, above which only shon

    Filial obedience ...

    Milton, Paradise Lost III

    December 18, 2006