When the phrase “like father, like son” is said, it means that someone resembles their parents, either in terms of appearance or because of their behavior.
Example: Barbara was at the grocery store with her grandson. While they were shopping, someone in the same isle as them tripped and dropped a bag of food on the ground. Her grandson immediately went over to help. Once he returned, Barbara told him: “That was kind of you, Walter. You know your father is the same way. Like father, like son, as the saying goes.”
In other words, she was saying that Walter was similar to his dad; they were both kind people, willing to help others.
Origin Of “Like Father, Like Son”
Children share similarities with their parents, not just when it comes to how they look, but also in the way that they behave. This is because children inherit traits from their parents. In addition to that, as the child is growing up, he or she observes the behavior of their father and mother. This, in turn, can affect them as well. Consequently, once the child reaches adulthood, the qualities and personality they have is probably quite similar to their parents.
Thus, when someone notices a child is acting like their mom or dad, they might use the phrase “like father, like son.” There’s also a similar expression that goes “like mother, like daughter,” which pretty much means the same thing.
The latter mentioned phrase (like mother, like daughter) is seen in the Bible. At Ezekiel 16:44, it reads:
“Look! Everyone who uses proverbs will apply this proverb to you: ‘Like mother, like daughter!’ “
- A dad was drove his son to the store to buy some new clothes. As they were entering the store, the dad held the door open for an older couple. The son noticed. So the following week, when they returned to the same store, like father, like son, the boy also held the door open for someone.
Note: The origins for many common idioms cannot be said with a certainty. So what’s provided are theories that may be plausible to how a phrase originated. But what if no explanation is given?
In that case, there will likely be a quote on the page. These quotes that contain a particular phrase may be taken from old newspapers, poems, or books that were written centuries ago. The purpose of these quotes is so you can see how old the saying is. It does not necessarily mean that the phrase originated from that source. It’s just like a “So it goes back to at least the 16th century” kinda thing.