Son as a word originated before 900 BCE; from Middle English sone, Old English sunu; cognate with Dutch zoon, German Sohn, Old Norse sunr, sonr, Gothic sunus, Lithuanian sūnùs ultimately from Sanskrit sūnus
Social issues regarding sons
In pre-industrial societies and some current countries with agriculture-based economies, a higher value was, and still is, assigned to sons rather than daughters, giving males higher social status, because males were physically stronger, and could perform farming tasks more effectively.
In China, a One-child Policy is in effect in order to address rapid population growth. Official birth records have shown a rise in the level of male births since the policy was brought into law. This has been attributed to a number of factors, including the illegal practice of sex-selective abortion and widespread under-reporting of female births.
In some cultures, the eldest son has special privileges. For example, in Biblical times, the first-born male was bequeathed the most goods from their father. Some Japanese social norms involving the eldest son are: "that parents are more likely to live with their eldest child if their eldest child is a son" and "that parents are most likely to live with their eldest son even if he is not the eldest child".
Among Christians, "the Son" or Son of God refers to Jesus Christ. Trinitarian Christians view Jesus as the human incarnation of God the second person of the Trinity, known as God the Son. In the Gospels, Jesus sometimes refers to himself as the Son of Man.
In Semitic names
The Arabic word for son is ibn. Because family and ancestry are important cultural values in the Arab world and Islam, Arabs and most Muslims (e.g. Bruneian) often use bin, which is a form of ibn, in their full names. The bin here means "son of." For example, the Arab name "Saleh bin Tarif bin Khaled Al-Fulani" translates as "Saleh, son of Tarif, son of Khaled; of the family Al-Fulani" (cf. Arab family naming conventions). Accordingly, the opposite of ibn/bin is abu, meaning "the father of." It is a retronym, given upon the birth of one's first-born son, and is used as a moniker to indicate the newly acquired fatherhood status, rather than a family name. For example, if Mahmoud's first-born son is named Abdullah, from that point on Mahmoud can be called "Abu Abdullah."
This is cognate with the Hebrew languageben, as in "Judah ben Abram HaLevi," which means "Judah, son of Abram, the Levite." Ben is also a standalone name.
Indications in names
In many cultures, the surname of the family means "son of", indicating a possible ancestry—i.e., that the whole family descends from a common ancestor. It may vary between the beginning or the termination of the surname.
bin or ibn. Example: "Ibn Sina" ("son of Sina"), "Ibn Khaldun" ("son of Khaldun"), etc.
a as prefix (except for female names that start in a and probably for others that start in vowels) & ei as suffix. Example: "Amariei" ("son of Mary"), "Adomnitei" ("son of Domnita"), "Alenei" ("son of Elena/Leana"), etc.
escu or sometimes aşcu comes from the Latin-iscus which means "belonging to the people". Example: "Petrescu" ("Petre's son"), "Popescu" ("Popa's son" Popa meaning Priest), "Constantinescu" ("son of Constantin"), etc.