Like father, like son

English sayings

Like father, like son
   0 Published by Denisa at 03/10/2018

If you’ve ever studied psychology you may have heard of the nurture/nature debate: some scientists argue that who we are and how we behave is determined mostly by our genetic heritage, while others believe that our education, background or experience make us act the way that we do.

There is no definitive answer to this question, as it seems that a combination of both factors influences us greatly. What is interesting however, is that cultures from all over the world observed the fact that children really do resemble their parents a lot of the time, either physically or in their behaviour. In consequence, a lot of expressions and sayings that convey this idea have been made up: Like father, like son, The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, or as it appears in the Bible, in Ezekiel 16:44: Like mother, like daughter.

In Spanish we have the following equivalents:

De tal palo, tal astilla.

Hijos de gatos, gatitos.

Hijo de gata, ratones mata.

Hijo de tigre sale pintado/rayado.

Who knows? It could be either because we are biologically similar to our parents or because we act like our parents educated us to, and the way we’ve seen our family behave while we were growing up. Regardless, what is certain is that we can use the expression when children resemble their parents, both in positive ways, or in negative ones, when we talk about flaws of character. We can also use it when children choose the same path in life as their parents before them, like in the following example:

Andy: I’ve decided to study Medicine and become a doctor.

Uncle: Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised given that both your parents are doctors. Like father, like son/The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Do you know any other Spanish expressions that could be used to say the same thing? Let us know in the comments below.


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