be·​quest | \ bi-ˈkwest How to pronounce bequest (audio) , 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

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 First, current law does not treat a bequest as a sale so no income tax is due at death. Steve Rosenthal, Forbes, 13 May 2022 The papers and other items in Leonard Bernstein’s bequest, for example, total about 400,000, Horowitz said. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2022 At some point, a donor could leave your nonprofit a charitable bequest of cryptocurrency in their will. Kristen Jaarda, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 Since 1977, the foundation has subsisted from a modest endowment left by Ms. Bolton and the occasional bequest, but those are few and far between. New York Times, 23 Mar. 2022 The art was uninsured under the terms of the bequest that created the museum, and empty frames now hang where the art was displayed. Edmund H. Mahony,, 28 Feb. 2022 Her bequest remains the Trust’s largest acquisition in the area. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, 12 Mar. 2022 This stock will be a majority of his bequest to my siblings and me. New York Times, 23 Nov. 2021 John Baldessari, Chris Burden, Roy Dowell, Jill Giegerich, Stephen Prina and Alexis Smith are among the Los Angeles artists whose work is part of the bequest. Los Angeles Times, 11 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bequest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bequest


be·​quest | \ bi-ˈkwest How to pronounce bequest (audio) \

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 How to pronounce bequest (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on bequest

Nglish: Translation of bequest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bequest for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bequest


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