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Thread: "son of"

  1. #1
    svphillips99 is offline Newbie
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    "son of"

    Hi -

    I was curious about the origin of the expression "Son of ..." (e.g. "He sure is a son of Italy" etc.). Seems that it is often used to connote a particular nationality or affinity, but I'm not sure if historically it actually denoted one or the other or a different characteristic...i.e. if it had legal significance and then was appropriate to popular usage. I'd love to know if you had any resources about this expression/idiom/phrase.


    Thanks!
    Sarah

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: "son of"

    It could tie in with the sons of the soil idea.

    Surnames in English started after the 1066 Norman invasion, and places where people came from were one source. 'Son of a gun' may originally have been a term for babies born to prostitutes aboard navy ships where paternity was uncertain. 'Son' features in names like Johnson, and Fitz- means 'son of'.

    It might, therefore, be a bit of both- characteristics, locations, etc, were turned into names, which would have legal significance.

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