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A son is a male offspring; a boy, man, or male animal in relation to either or both of his parents. The female equivalent is a daughter.

Social issues regarding sons

In many pre-industrial societies and some current countries with agriculture-based economies, a higher value was, and still is, assigned to sons rather than daughters, giving males higher social status, because males were physically stronger, and could perform farming tasks more effectively.

In China, a One-child Policy is in effect in order to address rapid population growth. Official birth records have shown a rise in the level of male births since the policy was brought into law. This has been attributed to a number of factors, including the illegal practice of sex-selective abortion and widespread under-reporting of female births.

In some societies that practice primogeniture, sons will customarily inherit before daughters.

Specialised use of the term son

American slang

In the lexicons of American English and African American Vernacular English, the term is sometimes used (1) by older men addressing younger men, implying the speaker's seniority; and (2) as one of endearment between young Black males and others who imitate hip hop culture, mainly in urban and inner city.

The origin of the term "Son" in the vernacular context was used among American East Coast urban youths as a derogatory term that extended beyond justifying seniority. Often, it was used to claim or instigate one's sentiment toward a rival. The term's derogatory intention began to shift as rap groups like the Wu-Tang Clan used it in their lyrics of the rough ghetto life as a form of endearment. As urban/hip-hop culture has been portrayed as a glamorous subculture to the youths today, the term has been commonly used as playful greeting for those who seek an urban identity to develop their own culture from and will use the term "Son" as well other terms found in rap lyrics like "Nigga", Cuhz (Cousin). Still, those who use or believe these terms are derogatory find differentiation in how the word is enunciated or structured. Mainly, in how the term is pronounced in comparison to the sentence structure as well as the body language (ie- gestural, proxemics, etc,).

In Semitic names

The Arabic word for son is "ibn". Because family and ancestry are important cultural values in the Arab World, Arabs often use "bin", which is a form of "ibn", in their full names. The "bin" here means "son of". Consequently, e.g. the Arab name of "Saleh bin Tarif bin Khaled Al-Fulani" translates as "Saleh, son of Tarif, son of Khaled; of the family Al-Fulani" (cf. Arab family naming conventions).

This is cognate with the Hebrew language "ben", as in "Judah ben Abram HaLevi", which means "Judah, son of Abram, the Levite".

Indications in names

For more details on this topic, see Patronymic.

In many cultures, the surname of the family means "son of", indicating a possible ancestry -- i.e., that the whole family descends from a common ancestor. It may vary between the beginning or the termination of the surname.

  • Son. Example: "Jefferson" (son of Jeffrey), "Wilson" (son of William), "Edson" (son of Edward), etc.
  • Mac or Mc. Example: "MacThomas" (son of Thomas), "MacDonald" (son of Donald), "MacLean" (son of Lean), etc.
  • Son. Example: "Magnusson" (son of Magnus); "Sigurdsson" (son of Sigurd), "Odinson" (son of Odin), etc.
  • Sen. Example: "Henriksen" (son of Henrik), "Ambjørnsen" (son of Ambjørn), "Christensen" (son of Christen), etc.
  • Es. Example: "Gonçalves" (son of Gonçalo), "Henriques" (son of Henrique), "Fernandes" (son of Fernando), etc.
  • Ez. Example: "Gonzalez" (son of Gonzalo), "Henriquez" (son of Henrique), "Fernandez" (son of Fernando), etc.
  • di. Example: di Stefano (son of Steven), di Giovanni (son of John), di Giuseppe (son of Joseph), etc.
  • de. Example: de Paolo (son of Paul), de Mauro (son of Maurus), de Giorgio ( son of George) etc.
  • d`. Example: d`Antonio (son of Anthony), d`Adriano (son of Adrian), d`Agostino (son of Augustine) etc.
  • ski. Example: "Janowski" (son of John), "Piotrowski" (son of Peter), "Michalski" (son of Michael), etc.

See also

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