How to Say SON in Italian

Tutti i miei figli . . .  All my sons . . .

Here is your one-stop shop to learn all about how to say son, or figlio, in Italian, how to pronounce it and examples of how to use it. Find out about the word figliolo, which also means son, and other related son words, like sons (figli), eldest son (figlio più grande), and grandson (nipote). I’ll also explain how to use possessives correctly with family member names, and why there are two ways to say sons and daughters, or children, in Italian (figli e figlie, and just figli).



Figlio means son in Italian. Un figlio is a son, while il figlio means the son.

The pronunciation figlio of is: FEEL-yee-oh 

Listen to how to pronounce figlio here:

Just like the English word son, a figlio is a person’s male-identifying child.

Tale padre tale figlio.
Like father like son.

Figlio can also be used in general to refer to someone’s child when the gender isn’t specified.

Un giorno vorrei un figlio.
Someday I would like a child.

Good To Know: The “gli” sound in Italian is not pronounced like “gli” in English. GLI in Italian makes a kind of LYEE sound, almost like the LLI in scallion. It’s tricky, but practice makes perfect!


Figliolo is another word that means son in Italian, though it is more informal, and used less often. Un figliolo is a son, while il figliolo means the son.

The pronunciation of figliolo is: feel-yee-OH-loh

Listen to how to pronounce figliolo here:

Serena ha un figliolo che abita a Firenze.
Serena has a son who lives in Florence.

Figliolo is also an affectionate term for a boy or young man.

Tommaso è un bravo figliolo.
He’s a good young man. 


Figli means sons in Italian. Figli is the plural of figlio

The pronunciation figli of is: FEE-lyee

Listen to how to pronounce figli here:

Entrambi i figli di Marco sono musicisti.
Both of Marco’s sons are musicians.

Figli can also mean children or kids (offspring), without specifying gender. So Entrambi i figli di Marco sono musicisti can also mean Both of Marco’s children are musicians.

Good To Know: Figli has two possible meanings. It can refer to a group of all sons, or a group of sons and daughters (children). If you want to avoid any mixup, and specify that you’re talking about all sons, or male children, say figli maschi. Keep on reading to the end of this post to find out more!

Just as some English and American family-owned businesses do, Italian business names may include the phrase “e figli”, or “and sons”. For example, Francesco Rinaldi e Figli is a winery in Piedmont that produces Barolo.

Figlioli is another way to say sons in Italian, but it is less common than figli. Figlioli is the plural of figliolo.

The pronunciation of figlioli is: feel-yee-OH-leh

Listen to how to pronounce figlioli here:

Domenica a pranzo vengono tutti i figlioli di Margherita.
All of Margherita’s sons are coming for lunch on Sunday


Here are some words for different types of sons.

The eldest son is il figlio maggiore, il figlio più grande
The youngest son is il figlio minore, il figlio più giovane or il figlio più piccolo
Stepson is figliastro
Adopted son is figlio adottivo
Son-in-law is genero
Godson is figlioccio
Only son is figlio unico
Grandson is nipote

Mio fratello è figlio unico (My brother is an only child) is a song by Italian singer-songwriter Rino Gaetano, and the name of his second album, released in 1976. It also inspired the name of the 2007 film Mio fratello è figlio unico by Daniele Luchetti, starring Riccardo Scamarcio and Elio Germano.

The word figlio is also used outside the context of family:

Il Figlio di Dio is the Son of God
Un figlio dei fiori is a hippy (direct translation: a son of the flowers)
Non essere figlio di nessuno is to be no one’s son, neglected by one’s parents, or an orphan
Un figlio di p*****a is a son of a b****h
Un figlio di papà is a spoiled rich kid (direct translation: a daddy’s boy)


Here are some phrases that use the word figlio to talk about a child or children in general: 

Avere un figlio means to have a child
Avere figli means to have kids
Fare un figlio means to have a baby
Aspettare un figlio means to be expecting a baby, or to be pregnant
Tirare su un figlio means to raise a child
Tirare su i figli means to raise children/kids

A: Mamma, Babbo, abbiamo una grande notizia! Aspettiamo un figlio!
B: Che bello! Tanti auguri figlio mio!
A: Mom, Dad, we have big news. We’re expecting!
B: How wonderful! Congratulations my son!

On the other hand, the phrase Auguri e figli maschi! leaves no room for ambiguity. It is a traditional wedding toast that means Cheers! And may you have male children! Hopefully this one dies out soon. Auguri e figli maschi! is also an Italian movie directed by Giorgio Simonelli from 1951.


Father and son playing on the carpet.  Father says in graphic speech bubble, "mio figlio."

To say my son, use mio figlio. Usually possessives in Italian also require the direct article (the). For example: il mio amico means my (male) friend. However, family members are a big exception.

Do not use the direct article with the SINGULAR, unaltered nouns of most family members. If there is an adjective before or after the family member, use the article. Also, use the article with the possessive loro. 


mio figlio is my son
tuo figlio is your son (informal you) 
suo figlio is his/her/your son (formal you) 
nostro figlio is our son
vostro figlio your son (plural you) 


Il loro figlio is their son
Il mio figlio più piccolo is my youngest son
Il mio figlio buffo is my funny son

When talking to your son, you can call him figlio mio, or son of mine/my son.

Mi dispiace figlio mio, stasera non mangiamo la pizza.
I’m sorry my son, tonight we’re not having pizza.


Here are some terms of endearment that mothers and fathers use when talking to their sons:

  • Piccolo means little one
  • Piccolo mio means my little one
  • Piccino means little one
  • Principe means prince
  • Tesoro means treasure
  • Amore means love
  • Amore della mamma means Mommy’s sweetheart
  • Cucciolo means pup, or cub
  • Caro means dear
  • Bambino means little boy
  • Bimbo means baby boy

Ciao piccolo, come stai?
Hello little one, how are you?

When parents say I love you to their sons and other children, they use the phrase Ti voglio bene.

Bimbo mio ti voglio bene.
I love you my baby boy. 

Good To Know: In Italian there are two ways to say I love you, so make sure you use the right one to avoid a super awkward exchange! Ti voglio bene (literally, I want you well), is reserved for friends and family. Ti amo is for telling a special someone that you love them in a romantic way.


Italians call their fathers papà or babbo. Read all about How to Say Dad in Italian.


Italians call their mothers mamma. How to Say Mom in Italian explains all you’ll need to know about how to use the word mamma, and other words for Mom.


Figlia means daughter in Italian. To learn more, read Daughter in Italian.

The pronunciation Figlia of is: FEE-lyee-ah 

Listen to how to pronounce Figlia here:


There are two ways to say sons and daughters, or children, in Italian.

The first is figli e figlie (literally: sons and daughters).

The second is simply figli (sons). Wait what? 

Because of how Italian word genders work, the plural masculine word figli (sons) can be used for a mixed group of sons and daughters (children/kids). This is true even if there are 100 daughters and 2 sons: just one man trumps a feminine group and turns the noun masculine, to figli.

If you wish to specify that you are speaking about just sons or male children, use figli maschi.


Speaking of sons and daughters, what about how they’re related? The Italian word for sister is sorella, and the word for brother is fratello. Read How to Say Sister in Italian, and How to Say Brother in Italian, for more about how to use these words and how to pronounce them. 

You may want to read more about Relatives in Italian.