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Alternative forms[edit]

Mangrove scion in Mono river estuary, Benin


From Middle English sion, sioun, syon, scion, cion, from Old French cion, ciun, cyon, sion; from Frankish *kīþō, *kīþ, from Proto-Germanic *kīþô, *kīþą, *kīþaz (sprout), from Proto-Indo-European *geye- (to split open, sprout), same source as Old English ċīþ (a young shoot; sprout; germ; sprig), Old Saxon kīth (sprout; germ), Old High German kīdi (offshoot; sprout; germ). See also French scion and Picard chion.[1] Doublet of chit.



scion (plural scions)

  1. A descendant, especially a first-generation descendant of a distinguished family.
    • 1826, [Mary Shelley], chapter I, in The Last Man. [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 230675575, page 15:
      No senate seats in council for the dead; no scion of a time honoured dynasty pants to rule over the inhabitants of a charnel house; the general's hand is cold, and the soldier has his untimely grave dug in his native fields, unhonoured, though in youth.
    • 1956, Delano Ames, chapter 9, in Crime out of Mind[1]:
      Rudolf was the bold, bad Baron of traditional melodrama. Irene was young, as pretty as a picture, fresh from a music academy in England. He was the scion of an ancient noble family; she an orphan without money or friends.
    • 1966, Sholem Aleichem, An Early Passover, paperback edition, Clifton Pub. Co., page 24:
      It was said to him that those people were the scions of Zion.
    • 1986, David Leavitt, The Lost Language of Cranes, paperback edition, Penguin, page 72:
      He could show his parents Eliot, scion of Derek Moulthorp, and then how could they say he was throwing his life away?
  2. The heir to a throne.
  3. A guardian.
  4. (botany) A detached shoot or twig containing buds from a woody plant, used in grafting; a shoot or twig in a general sense.
    • 1613, G[ervase] M[arkham], “Of the Setting or Planting of the Cyons or Branches of Most Sorts of Fruit-trees”, in The English Husbandman, [], revised edition, London: [] [Augustine Matthews and John Norton] for Henry Taunton, [], published 1635, OCLC 84770138, 2nd part (Containing the Art of Planting, Grafting, and Gardening, []), page 132:
      [If] you finde a certaine miſlike or conſumption in the plant, you ſhall immediatly vvith a ſharp knife cut the plant off ſlope-vviſe upvvard, about three fingers from the ground, and ſo let it reſt till the next ſpring, at vvhich time you ſhall behold nevv cyons iſſue from the roote, []
    • 2020, Hilary Mantel, The Mirror and the Light, Fourth Estate, page 681:
      He used to think that the plums in this country weren’t good enough, and so he has reformed them, grafting scion to rootstock.



One of three common words ending in -cion, the other two being coercion and suspicion.[2][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 scion” listed in the Oxford English Dictionary [2nd Ed.; 1989]
  2. ^ Notes and Queries, Vol. VI, No. 10, 1889, October, p. 365
  3. ^ Editor and Publisher, Volume 9, 1909, p. 89

Further reading[edit]




From Old French cion, ciun, from Frankish *kithō, from Proto-Germanic *kīþô, *kīþą, from Proto-Indo-European *geye- (to split open, to sprout). Spelling influenced by scie (saw).



scion m (plural scions)

  1. scion (detached twig)
    Synonym: greffon
  2. tip of a fishing rod

See also[edit]

  • (tip of fishing rod): canne

Further reading[edit]