c. 1300, sioun, "a shoot or twig," especially one for grafting, also figurative, from Old French sion, cion "descendant; shoot, twig; offspring" (12c., Modern French scion, Picard chion), a word of uncertain origin. OED rejects derivation from Old French scier "to saw" (as if originally "a sawing, a cutting") on formal grounds. Perhaps it is a diminutive of a Frankish word, from Proto-Germanic *kidon-, from PIE *geie- "to sprout, split, open" (see chink (n.1) ).
The meaning "an heir, child, a descendant" in English is from mid-14c., a figurative use. The proper spelling would be sion; the -c- in the French word, and hence in the English, is unetymological, as it is in scythe, apparently by influence of Latin scindere "to cut." Fem. form scioness seems to have been used mostly for humorous effect.
updated on February 02, 2022
Dictionary entries near scion