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

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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

In 2015 alone, seven individuals made gifts of more than $100 million apiece to higher education, including one bequest. Daniel Golden, Town & Country, "How Wealthy Families Manipulate Admissions at Elite Universities," 21 Nov. 2016 How did such a momentous, highly publicized bequest from Ebsworth’s internationally vaunted collection slip out from under SAM’s nose? David Gutman, The Seattle Times, "Multimillion-dollar art collection, once promised to SAM, now up for auction at Christie’s," 14 Nov. 2018 Hamm's self-effacement is refreshing—and atypical—in an age when schools compete to land record-setting bequests earmarked for massive buildings named after wealthy alums. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "Secret Sharer," 1 May 2014 On Monday, the 46-year-old station announced a bequest of just under $10 million from an anonymous donor known as Suzanne. Gregory Scruggs, New York Times, "Seattle Radio Station KEXP Celebrates a $10 Million Gift," 17 Apr. 2018 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

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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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 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

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