be·queath | \bi-ˈkwēth, -ˈkwēt͟h, bē- \
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

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Other Words from bequeath

bequeathal \bi-ˈkwē-thəl, -t͟həl, bē- \ noun

Synonyms for bequeath


leave, will

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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 all-white church, based in Albany, Ga., planned to bequeath its facilities to New Seasons, an African American church, to reflect the changing demographics of the surrounding community. Erin B. Logan, Washington Post, "An all-white church planned to give its building to a black congregation. Instead, they clashed.," 13 June 2018 Baez lost command of the strike zone, missing high and low to bequeath Wolters first base. Andy Mccullough,, "Dodgers continue to struggle at home as road-built winning streak ends," 22 May 2018 This new show brings together a selection of Martin’s paintings and drawings (and one sculpture) that Dietrich owned and bequeathed to the PMA, as well as archival documentation relating to her ICA survey. Edith Newhall,, "In Philly galleries now: Bergstrom bags, a subtle modern master, Fleisher/Ollman's 'Party'," 12 July 2018 Whites who were permitted to buy benefited from ensuing decades of equity appreciation; this wealth helped finance college for their children and was later bequeathed to them. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "What you should know about race-based affirmative action and diversity in schools," 3 July 2018 The painting is one of the most important of the works bequeathed to the Kunstmuseum Bern by Mr. Gurlitt, a recluse who hoarded about 1,500 artworks, some looted by the Nazis, in his homes in Munich and Salzburg, Austria. New York Times, "French and Swiss Museums to Share a Cézanne With a Murky Past," 3 July 2018 The stagecoach doesn’t show up and the preacher soon vanishes from the scene, though not before bequeathing his clothes, his Bible and his identity to a stranger waiting nearby. Justin Chang,, "Robert Pattinson delights in the sly, archly comic western 'Damsel'," 21 June 2018 According to his first wife, Ivana, Donald Trump was never keen on bequeathing his name to anybody. Julia Ioffe, GQ, "The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.," 21 June 2018 And that is exactly the kind of bravery that his grandfather bequeathed to him. Kevin Fisher-paulson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Family soldiers on in battle never fully lost or won," 4 June 2018

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.

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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

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

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Statistics for bequeath

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for bequeath

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

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English Language Learners Definition of bequeath

: to say in a will that (your property) will be given to (a person or organization) after you die

: to give (ideas, knowledge, etc.) to (younger people) as part of their history


be·queath | \bi-ˈkwēth, -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 \

Legal Definition of bequeath 

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

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Comments on bequeath

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lying above or upon

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