noun \ˈer\

: a person who has the legal right to receive the property of someone who dies

: a person who has the right to become a king or queen or to claim a title when the person holding it dies

Full Definition of HEIR

:  one who inherits or is entitled to inherit property
:  one who inherits or is entitled to succeed to a hereditary rank, title, or office <heir to the throne>
:  one who receives or is entitled to receive some endowment or quality from a parent or predecessor
heir·less \-ləs\ adjective
heir·ship \-ˌship\ noun

Examples of HEIR

  1. His heirs could inherit millions of dollars.
  2. The king left no heirs when he died.

Origin of HEIR

Middle English, from Anglo-French eir, heir, from Latin hered-, heres; akin to Greek chēros bereaved
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi



Definition of HEIR

transitive verb
chiefly dialect
:  inherit

First Known Use of HEIR

14th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

One who inherits or is entitled to succeed to the possession of property after the death of its owner. In most jurisdictions, statutes of descent determine transfer of title to property if no will names the recipient. One may be either heir apparent or heir presumptive during the lifetime of the property holder. An heir apparent's right to an inheritance cannot be voided or undone except by exclusion under a valid will. An heir presumptive's right to inherit may be defeated by the birth of a nearer relative. In Britain, the heir apparent of the monarch is the eldest son. If there are no sons, the eldest daughter is heiress presumptive. See also primogeniture.


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