noun \in-ˈher-ə-tən(t)s, -ˈhe-rə-\

: money, property, etc., that is received from someone when that person dies

: something from the past that is still important or valuable

: the act of inheriting something

Full Definition of INHERITANCE

a :  the act of inheriting property
b :  the reception of genetic qualities by transmission from parent to offspring
c :  the acquisition of a possession, condition, or trait from past generations
:  something that is or may be inherited
a :  tradition
b :  a valuable possession that is a common heritage from nature
obsolete :  possession


  1. She began her own business with the inheritance she got from her grandfather.
  2. He left sizable inheritances to his children.
  3. The buildings are part of the city's architectural inheritance.
  4. the inheritance of an estate
  5. the inheritance of a genetic trait

First Known Use of INHERITANCE

14th century

Other Genetics Terms

chimera, hermaphrodite, plasticity


noun \in-ˈher-ət-ən(t)s\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of INHERITANCE

: the reception of genetic qualities by transmission from parent to offspring
: all of the genetic characters or qualities transmitted from parent to offspring—compare genotype 2, phenotype


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Devolution of property on an heir or heirs upon the death of its owner. In civil law jurisdictions it is called succession. The concept depends on a common acceptance of the notion of private ownership of goods and property. Under some systems, land is considered communal property and rights to it are redistributed, rather than bequeathed, on the death of a community member. In many countries, a minimum portion of the decedent's estate must be assigned to the surviving spouse and often to the progeny as well. Intestacy laws, which govern the inheritance of estates whose distribution is not directed by a will, universally view kinship between the decedent and the beneficiary as a primary consideration. Inheritance usually entails payment of an inheritance tax. See also inheritance tax; intestate succession; probate.


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