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Preference in inheritance that is given by law or custom to the eldest son and his issue. The motivation for such a practice has usually been to keep the estate of the deceased, or some part of it, whole and intact, and to acknowledge the importance of age-seniority within the social hierarchy. It is no longer a recognized principle of inheritance in most jurisdictions.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on primogeniture, visit Britannica.com.