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 Family businesses form the backbone of the industry, and reputations are bequeathed and inherited. Barak Richman, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Manhattan’s Diamond District Continues To Operate Like an Old World Bazaar," 16 Jan. 2020 People often bequeath their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to loved ones. Kevin Kelleher, Time, "Here Are the Biggest Tax Law Changes to Look Out for This Year," 23 Jan. 2020 Rogers’s achievement was the culmination of an arduous process that had begun back in 2005, when one of his aides to local community members that the best way to improve the county’s prospects was to bequeath it a prison. Sam Adler-bell, The New Republic, "Appalachia vs. the Carceral State," 25 Nov. 2019 This is the first step in reclaiming the legacy bequeathed to us by the Founders. Saul Cornell, The New Republic, "Could America’s Founders Have Imagined This?," 20 Dec. 2019 At the playoffs’ end, voters will likely bequeath the MVP upon Houston’s James Harden—a wonderful player, but his MVP prize should come with a laugh track. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Ballad of the Renegade Hockey Licker," 6 May 2018 Barrett, who was suffering from a terminal illness, bequeathed his voluminous files on Trump to the firm. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, "The Inside Story of Christopher Steele’s Trump Dossier," 26 Nov. 2019 Welsh art collector and philanthropist Gwendoline Davies bequeathed Virgin and Child With Pomegranate to the Cardiff museum in 1952. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "An Unidentified Botticelli Painting Spent Decades Hidden in Welsh Museum’s Storeroom," 18 Nov. 2019 Post had bequeathed the property to the National Park Service in 1973, for use as a winter White House, but in 1981 Congress returned it to the Post Foundation as too expensive to maintain. The Economist, "Palm Beach and the rise of American celebrity," 7 Nov. 2019

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

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bequeath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 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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