Like Father, Like Son


What is the meaning of the phrase like father, like son? It means that someone resembles their parents in some way, either in terms of appearance or because of their behavior.

Example: Barbara was at the grocery store with her grandson. As they were shopping, someone down the aisle dropped their bag of groceries all over the floor. Her grandson immediately ran over to help. Afterwards, Barbara told him: “Your father was the same way. Like father, like son, as the saying goes.”

In other words, the grandson was similar to his dad; they are both willing to help others.

1. A chip off the old block
2. Like mother, like daughter
3. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Like father, like son - kids acting like their parents. / SelectStock

The Origin of “Like Father, Like Son”

When a child acts like their mom or dad, someone might use the proverb ‘like father, like son’ to indicate as much. Or if it’s a girl, they might say ‘like mother, like daughter,’ which basically means the same thing. Why do people say that?

Because it is common for similarities to exist between children and their parents. This similarity is not just in terms of how they look, but also in the way they behave. A reason this happens is because children inherit traits from their mother and father. However, there’s another factor at play. As a child grows up, they are influenced by what they see their parents doing and saying. So a parent’s words and actions can affect them too. The end result is that once a child reaches adulthood, the way they act may be similar to their parents (hence the phrase).

Anyway, let’s talk about the origin of this proverb. This phrase (the “like mother, like daughter” version) appears in the Bible. For example, at Ezekiel 16:44, it reads:

“Look! Everyone who uses proverbs will apply this proverb to you: ‘Like mother, like daughter!’ “

Example Sentences

Short Example:

  • When things go wrong, Rob is easily frustrated. Unfortunately, this is true for his kid as well. Like father, like son, I suppose.

Long Example:

  • Taylor needed some new clothes, so his dad took him shopping. As they entered the store, the dad politely held the door open for someone. The following week, they went shopping again. This time, Taylor held the door open for someone. He wanted to be polite like this dad. Like father, like son, as they say.

Note: The origin of some common idioms cannot be said with a certainty, so what is sometimes provided are theories for how the phrase may have originated.

However, if no theories are provided, you should still see a quote on the page. These quotes often come from newspapers, poems, or books that were written centuries ago. The purpose of these quotes is to give you an idea on how old the saying is.