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 propertya 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 How to pronounce bequeathal (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 O’Keeffe, who died in 1986 at age 98, bequeathed or gave him the material that Sotheby’s will exhibit... Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "A Trove of Georgia O’Keeffe Mementos, for Sale at Sotheby’s," 25 Feb. 2020 Gandhi bequeathed his last name to Nehru’s daughter, Indira, whose family has continued to lead Congress since India achieved independence from British rule in 1947. San Diego Union-Tribune, "India’s 2 biggest political parties vie for Gandhi’s legacy," 1 Oct. 2019 When Auchincloss died, the collection was bequeathed to his assistant, Colleen Townsend Pilat, who is a friend of Woods., "Jackie Kennedy photos and other rare memorabilia to be sold at auction," 5 Oct. 2019 The debt that Hamilton bequeathed, Mr. May notes, was indeed modest relative to America’s economic muscle. Roger Lowenstein, WSJ, "‘Jefferson’s Treasure’ Review: Penny-Pincher in Chief," 19 Aug. 2018 Carol Folt, who took over as president last summer, bucked the four-decade trend of USC leaders residing at a sprawling compound in San Marino that was bequeathed to the university by Seeley Mudd, a former medical school dean. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, "USC president gets new Santa Monica home and trims her salary amid pandemic," 4 Apr. 2020 It, along with other John Cleves Symmes memorabilia, was bequeathed to Hamilton County Probate Court in 1922, when a family descendant donated it to the Hamilton County Court, Meyers said. Sharon Coolidge,, "Missing for decades, Revolutionary War sword rescued from auction," 26 Oct. 2019 The reputational stakes are high, since many plan to bequeath their lucrative businesses to their children. Barak Richman, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Manhattan’s Diamond District Continues To Operate Like an Old World Bazaar," 16 Jan. 2020 When the last Robinson who lived on the farm died, the family bequeathed the property to an association that founded the museum in 1963. Carolyn Shapiro, New York Times, "Using History to Provide a Lens Into Today’s Politics," 8 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for bequeath

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for bequeath

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bequeath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for bequeath


How to pronounce bequeath (audio) How to pronounce bequeath (audio)

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 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.
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

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