be·​queath | \ bi-ˈkwēth How to pronounce bequeath (audio) , -ˈkwēt͟h, bē- How to pronounce bequeath (audio) \
bequeathed; bequeathing; bequeaths

Definition of bequeath

transitive verb

1 : to give or leave by will (see will entry 2 sense 1) used especially of personal property a ring bequeathed to her by her grandmother
2 : to hand down : transmit lessons bequeathed to future generations

Other Words from bequeath

bequeathal \ bi-​ˈkwē-​thəl How to pronounce bequeath (audio) , -​t͟həl , bē-​ \ noun

Synonyms for bequeath


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Examples of bequeath in a Sentence

He bequeathed his paintings to the museum. Lessons of the past are bequeathed to future generations.
Recent Examples on the Web The Englishwoman has generously decided to bequeath the villa to Sybbie (Fifi Hart), her great-great granddaughter named after Lady Sybil, Branson’s first wife who died too, too young in an early television plot twist that set audiences sobbing. Thelma Adams,, 17 May 2022 The state can place a lien on each home, which will have to be paid off when the house is sold or passed on — greatly reducing what these homeowners can bequeath to heirs. ProPublica, 12 May 2010 While elsewhere in the Islamic world waqf saw wealthy individuals bequeath lands or establish trust funds to support mosques and schools, in Tunisia the practice, known colloquially also as habous, relied on a much broader base. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Apr. 2022 A minute later, the neighbors were recounting how good each of them had been to the deceased old man and what the deceased had promised to bequeath to whom. Artem Chapeye, The New Yorker, 28 Mar. 2022 Even if average new daily cases are currently on their way down, the pandemic will bequeath trauma that will take years to heal. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 11 Feb. 2022 Mothers may even bequeath territories to their daughters. New York Times, 1 Feb. 2022 However, attorney Simasko thinks a revocable trust is the best option to bequeath property. Tanisha A. Sykes, USA TODAY, 3 Dec. 2021 The new Waters closet is the curators’ way of thanking the Baltimore icon for his plan to bequeath 375 artworks to the museum. Mary Carole Mccauley,, 28 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bequeath.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bequeath

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bequeath

Middle English bequethen, from Old English becwethan, from be- + cwethan to say — more at quoth

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The first known use of bequeath was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Bequeath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bequeath


be·​queath | \ bi-ˈkwēth How to pronounce bequeath (audio) , -ˈkwēt͟h \
bequeathed; bequeathing

Kids Definition of bequeath

1 : to give or leave by means of a will I bequeath this ring to my sister.
2 : to hand down These stories were bequeathed to us by our ancestors.


transitive verb
be·​queath | \ bi-ˈkwēth, -ˈkwēt͟h How to pronounce bequeath (audio) \

Legal Definition of bequeath

: to give by will used especially of personal property but sometimes of real property — see also legacy, legatee — compare devise

History and Etymology for bequeath

Old English becwethan to speak to, address, leave by will, from be- to, about + cwethan to say

More from Merriam-Webster on bequeath

Nglish: Translation of bequeath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bequeath for Arabic Speakers


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