When looking at the word "issue" in the thesaurus I noticed that children was given as one of the definitions. Having not seen issue used in this context before, I decided to do some investigation. Sure enough the Oxford English Dictionary (Online Edition) lists one of the definitions of issue as:

Offspring, progeny; a child or children; a descendant or descendants. Now chiefly in legal use or with reference to legal succession. †Formerly sometimes with pl. issues. (Rarely used of the young of beasts.)

However, I see example usage such as:

1850 H. Martineau Introd. Hist. Peace II. v. ix. 344 No issue from this marriage survived.

which seems to stop at around 1871. Is this just an older usage of the word, or does it also hold in modern day usage as well? I'm having trouble finding examples.

closed as general reference by StoneyB, MetaEd, tchrist, Robusto, aedia λ Apr 1 '13 at 4:46

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I think you already have your answer: as the OED tells you explicitly, it is used chiefly in law and genealogy today, not in ordinary discourse. If you Google the phrase "died without issue" you will find many instances. – StoneyB Mar 31 '13 at 1:15
  • @StoneyB Thank you for the reply. "died without issue" does indeed bring up the sort of examples I was looking for. – cwgem Mar 31 '13 at 20:20

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