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noun \ˈer\

Simple Definition of heir

  • : 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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of heir

  1. 1 :  one who inherits or is entitled to inherit property

  2. 2 :  one who inherits or is entitled to succeed to a hereditary rank, title, or office <heir to the throne>

  3. 3 :  one who receives or is entitled to receive some endowment or quality from a parent or predecessor


play \-ləs\ adjective


play \-ˌship\ noun

Examples of heir in a sentence

  1. His heirs could inherit millions of dollars.

  2. The king left no heirs when he died.

Origin and Etymology of heir

Middle English, from Anglo-French eir, heir, from Latin hered-, heres; akin to Greek chēros bereaved

First Known Use: 13th century




Definition of heir

chiefly dialect

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  inherit

14th Century

First Known Use of heir

14th century

HEIR Defined for Kids


noun \ˈer\

Definition of heir for Students

  1. 1 :  a person who inherits or has the right to inherit property after the death of its owner

  2. 2 :  a person who has legal claim to a title or a throne when the person holding it dies

Headscratcher for heir

Since an heir inherits, you might expect heir to sound like the -her- in inherit. Instead, heir sounds like air.

Law Dictionary


noun \ˈar\

Legal Definition of heir

  1. 1 :  one who inherits or is entitled to succeed to the possession of property after the death of its owner: as a :  one who by operation of law inherits the property and especially the real property of a person who dies without leaving a valid will —used in jurisdictions whose law is based on English common law —called also heir at law, heir general, legal heir — compare issue b in the civil law of Louisiana :  one who succeeds to the estate of a person by will or especially by operation of law — see also intestacy, unworthy — compare ancestor, devisee, legatee, next of kin, successor apparent heir :  heir apparent in this entry beneficiary heir in the civil law of Louisiana :  an heir who exercises the benefit of inventory which limits the amount of his or her liability for the decedent's debts bodily heir :  heir of the body in this entry forced heir :  an heir who cannot be disinherited except for causes recognized by law; especially in the civil law of Louisiana :  an heir who because of youth or mental or physical infirmity cannot care for himself or herself and who cannot be deprived of his or her lawful portion of the decedent's estate by disinherison without just cause — see also legitime heir ab intestato \-ˌab-ˌin-tes-ˈtā-tō, -ˌäb-ˌin-tes-ˈtä-tō\ plural heirs ab intestato in the civil law of Louisiana :  an heir that takes only by operation of the laws governing intestate succession heir apparent plural heirs apparent :  an heir whose right to an inheritance cannot be voided or undone except by exclusion under a valid will if he or she survives the ancestor —called also apparent heir — compare heir presumptive in this entry heir at law :  heir a heir general plural heirs general :  heir a heir in tail :  an heir to a fee-tail estate —called also heir of entail heir of the body :  an heir who is a lineal descendant especially as contrasted with a collateral descendant —called also bodily heir heir presumptive plural heirs presumptive :  an heir whose right to inherit may be defeated by the birth of a nearer relative or by exclusion under a valid will —called also presumptive heir — compare heir apparent in this entry instituted heir in the civil law of Louisiana :  an heir who is named in the will but whose legacy will fall to a substitute legatee under a vulgar substitution in the event that he or she refuses the legacy or dies before the testator —called also instituted legatee irregular heir in the civil law of Louisiana :  an heir who inherits a right of action to the estate as distinguished from seisin Editor's note: This class of heirs was eliminated as of January 1, 1982. Formerly, a decedent's illegitimate children and spouse were considered irregular heirs. legal heir :  heir a; specifically in the civil law of Louisiana :  an heir who receives seisin immediately after the death of the intestate by operation of law — compare irregular heir in this entry Editor's note: Prior to 1982 the Louisiana Civil Code distinguished between legal and irregular heirs who were required to go through an additional procedure in order to receive possession of the property. This division of heirs was eliminated in the 1981 revision of the Civil Code. natural heir :  an heir (as a child) whose status as an heir arises from especially close blood relationship as distinguished from one (as the state) whose status arises by operation of statute presumptive heir :  heir presumptive in this entry pretermitted heir :  a descendant of a testator who would be an heir under the laws of intestacy but who is not named to take under the will Editor's note: Most states have statutes requiring a share of the estate to go to a pretermitted heir, especially one born after the execution of the will, on the assumption that the omission was unintentional. right heir 1 :  an heir by blood 2 :  the particular heir granted or devised an estate tail as distinguished from the heirs in general testamentary heir in the civil law of Louisiana :  an heir who inherits under a will





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to permeate or influence as if by dyeing

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