Dictionary

hereditary

adjective he·red·i·tary \hə-ˈre-də-ˌter-ē\

: passed or able to be passed from parent to child before birth

: passing from a person who has died to that person's child or younger relative

: holding a position or title that was passed on from your parent or an older relative

Full Definition of HEREDITARY

1
a :  genetically transmitted or transmittable from parent to offspring
b :  characteristic of or fostered by one's predecessors
2
a :  received or passing by inheritance or required to pass by inheritance or by reason of birth
b :  having title or possession through inheritance or by reason of birth
3
:  of a kind established by tradition <hereditary enemies>
4
:  of or relating to inheritance or heredity
he·red·i·tar·i·ly \-ˌre-də-ˈter-ə-lē\ adverb
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Examples of HEREDITARY

  1. He suffers from a rare hereditary condition.
  2. <eye and hair color are hereditary>

Origin of HEREDITARY

Middle English hereditarie, from Latin hereditarius, from hereditas
First Known Use: 15th century

Related to HEREDITARY

Synonym Discussion of HEREDITARY

innate, inborn, inbred, congenital, hereditary mean not acquired after birth. innate applies to qualities or characteristics that are part of one's inner essential nature <an innate sense of fair play>. inborn suggests a quality or tendency either actually present at birth or so marked and deep-seated as to seem so <her inborn love of nature>. inbred suggests something either acquired from parents by heredity or so deeply rooted and ingrained as to seem acquired in that way <inbred political loyalties>. congenital and hereditary refer to what is acquired before or at birth, the former to things acquired during fetal development and the latter to things transmitted from one's ancestors <a congenital heart murmur> <eye color is hereditary>.

Other Genetics Terms

chimera, hermaphrodite, plasticity
HEREDITARY Defined for Kids

hereditary

adjective he·red·i·tary \hə-ˈre-də-ˌter-ē\

Definition of HEREDITARY for Kids

1
:  capable of being passed from parent to offspring <hereditary disease>
2
:  received or passing from an ancestor to an heir
Medical Dictionary

hereditary

adjective he·red·i·tary \hə-ˈred-ə-ˌter-ē\

Medical Definition of HEREDITARY

1
:  genetically transmitted or transmittable from parent to offspring—compare acquired 2, congenital 2, familial
2
:  of or relating to inheritance or heredity
he·red·i·tar·i·ly \-ˌred-ə-ˈter-ə-lē\ adverb

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