be·​quest | \bi-ˈkwest, bē-\

Definition of bequest 

1 : the act of giving or leaving something by will (see will entry 2 sense 1) : the act of bequeathing established at the bequest of a local philanthropist

2 : something given or left by will or transmitted from the past : something bequeathed : legacy made a bequest of his paintings to the museum

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Examples of bequest in a Sentence

He made a bequest of his paintings to the museum. left small bequests to all of her nieces and nephews

Recent Examples on the Web

But unequal bequests often feel unfair to those left behind, Moscardini says. Liz Weston, The Seattle Times, "How to write a will that won’t trigger a family feud," 24 Sep. 2018 According to royal jewelry expert Ella Kay, the tiara was part of a large jewelry bequest made to the Queen Mother by the Hon. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Jack Brooksbank Gave Princess Eugenie the Diamond and Emerald Earrings She Wore to Her Wedding,," 12 Oct. 2018 The Vatican received the letter in 1921 as part of a bequest of rare books and manuscripts that had belonged to Giovanni Francesco De Rossi, a 19th-century bibliophile. Elisabetta Povoledo, New York Times, "Vatican Gets Back Stolen Columbus Letter, but Case Remains a Whodunit," 15 June 2018 The bequest was made in memory of the Rev. James Franklin Kelly, a Lutheran minister who graduated from Gettysburg Seminary in 1920, and his wife, Hope Anna Eyster Kelly. Kristin E. Holmes,, "Lutheran seminary gets a heavenly bequest of $30 million," 30 May 2018 Still, there are signs that Lithuania’s next generation, or what remains of it after emigration, is reinventing its precious bequest of sovereignty. The Economist, "CharlemagneLithuania hopes the next century is quieter than the last," 15 Feb. 2018 The gift was actually an unrestricted bequest to the university. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "University of Michigan pours billions into funds run by contributors’ firms," 12 Jan. 2018 The preserve was acquired in a bequest from Kathryn Wriston last year. Peter Marteka,, "10 Miles Of Trails Open 7 Days A Week, 52 Weeks A Year. Sherman's Deer Pond Farm Makes Its Debut," 13 July 2018 The bequests here exhibit a greater breadth and quality than the holdings of some single-collector museums. New York Times, "The Art of Staying Cool: 10 Can’t-Miss Summer Shows in New York," 4 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bequest.' 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 bequest

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bequest

Middle English, irregular from bequethen

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Statistics for bequest

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for bequest

The first known use of bequest was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for bequest



English Language Learners Definition of bequest

: the property or money that you promise in your will to give to another person or organization after you die


be·​quest | \bi-ˈkwest \

Kids Definition of bequest

1 : the act of leaving property by means of a will

2 : something given or left by a will


be·​quest | \bi-ˈkwest \

Legal Definition of bequest 

: an act of bequeathing also : something bequeathed : legacy

demonstrative bequest \di-​ˈmän-​strə-​tiv-​ \

: a bequest of a particular amount of money or property to be distributed first from one source in the estate and then from other sources to the extent that the first is insufficient

general bequest

: a bequest that is to be distributed from the general assets of the estate and that is not a particular thing

specific bequest \spə-​ˈsi-​fik-​ \

: a bequest of a particular item or part of an estate or that is payable only from a specified source in the estate and not from the general assets

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Comments on bequest

What made you want to look up bequest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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