Definition of filial in English:



  • 1Relating to or due from a son or daughter.

    ‘a display of filial affection’
    • ‘Once they even forced him to fall back on filial emotion.’
    • ‘I am told that in China, filial piety is important.’
    • ‘If Lear is played too old and too enfeebled to continue to do his job, then the play becomes a tragedy of old age and filial lack of attention, which is not the full play.’
    • ‘In an act of filial generosity, he ordered April to be renamed for his mother.’
    • ‘‘Most of our cinemas centre around filial bonds and we should indeed cherish our family values and sentiments,’ he observes.’
    • ‘Even the relationship between Fowler, who is from England, and Pyle, hailing from New England, ought to be seen as in some sense a filial one (from England to New England).’
    • ‘Besides, the rule prevents the sacrifice of life to which filial affection might expose a generous youth, who in his conscience may condemn his father's conduct.’
    • ‘Theirs was a complex relationship, alternating between filial indulgence and collegial rivalry.’
    • ‘As much as any other mother would, she was concerned greatly for her son, and her son in return, was filial and respectful to her.’
    • ‘‘You don't really know what's going on, if it's a parental relationship, filial relationship, or if it's something more sinister,’ he says.’
    • ‘Is it because filial daughters are more bound to filial ideology than runaways?’
    • ‘The love triangle between the elder characters was mirrored by that of the younger - a tangled web of secret liaisons intermingled with filial duty.’
    • ‘In cartoons she often appeared vulnerable to foreign threats, or as the daughter of John Bull, balancing a continuing filial duty to Britain with a growing independence.’
    • ‘The emerging generation are more and more impervious to standard school indoctrination, less ready to give up their seats on buses, less respectful and filial.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, ballerina/modern dancer Vivian becomes a potential love interest for Wil, and secrets, guilt, filial ties, and honor all come to a head with one another.’
    • ‘Devoted and filial, he was his mother's favourite child.’
    • ‘He is both an insider and outsider, in filial and affiliated bonds with his home and his present, and he is connected to the various sectors of Vietnamese society and to the Westerners through a principled ethics.’
    • ‘For example, it teaches filial respect, marital fidelity, nonviolence, and cooperation.’
    • ‘The son has diligently researched his father's life, and recounts his career with clarity and objectivity, mixed with filial respect.’
    • ‘At least some of them must have experienced a bit of filial affection that they had been longing to get when he said he was to be treated like their son.’
    dutiful, devoted, loyal, faithful, compliant, respectful, dedicated, affectionate, loving
    View synonyms
  • 2Biology
    Denoting the offspring of a cross.

    See also F (sense 1)
    • ‘Every second generation during backcrossing, we mated the first filial offspring of the parental backcross to recover the recessive phenotype.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from ecclesiastical Latin filialis, from filius ‘son’, filia ‘daughter’.