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

Nantwich bequeaths to Will his personal history, a chronicle of his erotic life from boarding school to his years as a colonial administrator in Africa. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "A Novel of Sex and Secrecy," 10 Oct. 2011 Their place in the standings ahead of Seattle has been earned, not bequeathed because of the Mariners’ uneven play. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Mariners rally late, but A’s had already built too big of a lead to win 7-6," 13 Aug. 2018 Stamey's GREENSBORO Warner Stamey, founder of Lexington-style barbecue, opened his place in 1930 and bequeathed his skills to his grandson Chip, the current owner. Frances Bailey, Country Living, "North Carolina BBQ Road Trip Route," 7 July 2014 Not yet in her 20s, she and her First Kiss Productions company were bequeathed a $10 million development deal to produce two films at Columbia Pictures. Margy Rochlin, New York Times, "Alicia Silverstone, With a New TV Show, Proves She’s Not Clueless," 1 June 2018 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

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

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Statistics for bequeath

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bequeath

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

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More Definitions for bequeath



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

History and Etymology for bequeath

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on bequeath

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bequeath

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bequeath

Spanish Central: Translation of bequeath

Nglish: Translation of bequeath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bequeath for Arabic Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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