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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Filiation \Fil`i*a"tion\, n. [LL. filiatio, fr. L. filius son: cf. F. filiation. See Filial.]

  1. The relationship of a son or child to a parent, esp. to a father.

    The relation of paternity and filiation.
    --Sir M. Hale.

  2. (Law) The assignment of a bastard child to some one as its father; affiliation.

  3. Descent from, or as if from, a parent; relationship like that of a son; as, to determine the filiation of a language.

  4. One that is derived from a parent or source; an offshoot; as, the filiations are from a common stock.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1520s, "process of becoming, or state of being, a son," from French filiation, from Medieval Latin filiationem (nominative filiatio), noun of action from past participle stem of filiare "to have a child," from Latin filius/filia "son/daughter" (see filial). As "relationship of a son or daughter to a parent" (correlative of paternity) from 1794.

  1. n. the kinship relation between an individual and the individual's progenitors [syn: descent, line of descent, lineage]

  2. inherited properties shared with others of your bloodline [syn: ancestry, lineage, derivation]


Filiation is the legal term that refers to the recognized legal status of the relationship between family members, or more specifically the legal relationship between parent and child. As described by the Government of Quebec:

Filiation is the relationship which exists between a child and the child’s parents, whether the parents are of the same or the opposite sex. The relationship can be established by blood, by law in certain cases, or by a judgment of adoption. Once filiation has been established, it creates rights and obligations for both the child and the parents, regardless of the circumstances of the child’s birth.

Filiation differs from, but impacts, both parental rights and inheritance.

The statute of limitations period for filiation is thirty years.

An example of law regarding filiation is found in the Civil Code of Quebec, Book 2, Title 2 "Filiation", which details how filiation may be established, claimed, and transferred.

Usage examples of "filiation".

God is one: and in this way our intellect can understand the Divine goodness and wisdom, and the like, which are called essential attributes, without understanding Paternity or Filiation, which are called Personalities.

But the eternal filiation by which Christ is the Son of God the Father depends not on His Mother, because nothing eternal depends on what is temporal.

For some, considering only the cause of filiation, which is nativity, put two filiations in Christ, just as there are two nativities.

Christ there is no other hypostasis or person than the eternal, there can be no other filiation in Christ but that which is in the eternal hypostasis.

Therefore the filiation by which Christ is referred to His Mother cannot be a real relation, but only a relation of reason.

For if we consider the adequate causes of filiation, we must needs say that there are two filiations in respect of the twofold nativity.

But if we consider the subject of filiation, which can only be the eternal suppositum, then no other than the eternal filiation in Christ is a real relation.

Temporal nativity would cause a real temporal filiation in Christ if there were in Him a subject capable of such filiation.

But human nature can nowise be the subject of filiation, because this relation regards directly the person.

Eternal filiation does not depend on a temporal mother, but together with this eternal filiation we understand a certain temporal relation dependent on the mother, in respect of which relation Christ is called the Son of His Mother.

And thus in one way there is only one real filiation in Christ, which is in respect of the Eternal Father: yet there is another temporal relation in regard to His temporal mother.

Indeed, one of the consequences of this change, by which an etymological, dynastic notion of linguistic filiation was pushed aside by the view of language as a domain all of its own held together with jagged internal structures and coherences, is the dramatic subsidence of interest in the problem of the origins of language.

Greece by legitimate filiation from a past which seemed to have no connection and no community of character with it.

When they had created a number of such ideal beings, they tried to find out some relation: and thence proceeded to determine the parentage, and filiation of each, just as fancy directed.

When Harsiesis was incorporated into the solar religions of Heliopolis, his filiation was left undisturbed as being a natural link between the two Enneads, but his personality was brought into conformity with the new surroundings into which he was transplanted.