dis·​in·​her·​it ˌdis-in-ˈher-ət How to pronounce disinherit (audio)
disinherited; disinheriting; disinherits

transitive verb

: to prevent deliberately from inheriting something (as by making a will)
: to deprive of natural or human rights or of previously held special privileges
disinheritance noun

Examples of disinherit in a Sentence

She threatened to disinherit her son and leave him penniless.
Recent Examples on the Web Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court ruled against the niece, Brianna McKee Haggerty, finding that Bertsch’s later amendments that disinherited Haggerty were valid. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Feb. 2024 This presents a similar dilemma to the wife disinheriting her husband in a preceding discussion. Martin Shenkman, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 As an alternative to dower and curtesy, many states instead follow a similar practice known as elective share, De-Witt said. Also known as spousal or statutory share, elective share statutes are meant to prevent a spouse from being disinherited. Josh Snyder, Arkansas Online, 15 Oct. 2023 That summer, Smith teamed up with Marshall's disinherited older son Howard to sue Pierce, alleging that Pierce conspired for 20 years to take all of his father's fortune for himself. Jason Sheeler, Peoplemag, 17 May 2023 Some grown children are opposed to their aged parents’ remarriage for fear that they will be disinherited, or that the new partner will take charge of end-of-life medical decisions that would otherwise be left to the children. Deborah Carr, CNN, 25 Mar. 2023 Most people should not disinherit their child. Christine Fletcher, Forbes, 28 June 2021 But Larry’s third daughter, Caroline, has her doubts—an attitude that infuriates him and leads to his decision to disinherit her. Dinitia Smith, WSJ, 6 May 2022 Political differences are also not a reason to disinherit a child. Christine Fletcher, Forbes, 28 June 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disinherit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of disinherit was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near disinherit

Cite this Entry

“Disinherit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinherit. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


dis·​in·​her·​it ˌdis-ᵊn-ˈher-ət How to pronounce disinherit (audio)
: to deprive of the right to inherit

Legal Definition


transitive verb
dis·​in·​her·​it ˌdis-ᵊn-ˈher-ət How to pronounce disinherit (audio)
: to prevent deliberately from inheriting something (as by making a will) see also elective share
disinheritance noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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