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

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Other Words from bequeath

bequeathal \ bi-​ˈkwē-​thəl How to pronounce bequeathal (audio) , -​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

Reverse mortgages, whether the traditional HECM or jumbo products, aren’t right for everyone, such as homeowners who would like to bequeath their property to heirs. Robyn A. Friedman, WSJ, "Senior Homeowners Give Reverse Jumbo Mortgages New Life," 12 Dec. 2018 The family says the artist had given the painting to his sister Marie, who bequeathed it to her nephew, Philippe’s grandfather. New York Times, "French and Swiss Museums to Share a Cézanne With a Murky Past," 3 July 2018 Upon his death in 1944, Vanderbilt bequeathed the 43-acre waterfront museum complex, which today houses of 30,000 specimens, to Suffolk County. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Two Kids Explore the Vanderbilt Estate in This New Maisonette Video," 26 Nov. 2018 There are four, each bequeathing Fury a different fighting style. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Total War: Warhammer II adds undead pirates, Amazon's MMO leaks on Pornhub," 5 Oct. 2018 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

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

7 Apr 2019

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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 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

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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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an enemy or opponent

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