heir apparent

plural heirs apparent

Definition of heir apparent 

1 : an heir whose right to an inheritance is indefeasible except by exclusion under a valid will if he or she survives the ancestor

3 : one whose succession especially to a position or role appears certain under existing circumstances

Examples of heir apparent in a Sentence

The coach named her assistant as her heir apparent.

Recent Examples on the Web

Brazil’s Neymar is seen as the heir apparent to Ronaldo and Messi, angling to snatch the world’s best player award from them soon (he was named the world’s third-best player in 2015 and 2017). Alex Ward, Vox, "9 questions about the 2018 World Cup you were too embarrassed to ask," 12 June 2018 The appointment surprised some investors and analysts who viewed Mr. Stratton as the heir apparent. Sarah Krouse, WSJ, "Verizon CEO to Retire, Succeeded by a Newcomer," 8 June 2018 His rise to heir apparent prompts a host of questions for Goldman, including the big ones: When exactly will Blankfein make his handoff, and what will Solomon do then? Bloomberg.com, "Behind the Goldman Sachs Race to the Top Was a Quiet Battle for Blankfein's Favor," 12 Mar. 2018 The New York Giants have another entry in the contest to be the heir apparent to two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning . Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Giants Finally Take A QB, Richmond's Kyle Lauletta In Fourth Round," 28 Apr. 2018 Tyler Lockett will be a free agent following the 2018 season and Kirk also could be his heir apparent as a returner. Sam Farmer, latimes.com, "Mock draft: NFL beat writers make picks for the teams they cover," 23 Apr. 2018 Steele was the heir apparent from the moment Mack left for Louisville and, quite possibly, well before that. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty: Xavier in good hands with new coach Travis Steele," 31 Mar. 2018 Players such as France’s Kylian Mbappe, a possible heir apparent to Ronaldo, who played in the semifinal. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Cristiano Ronaldo's World Cup punk move backfired on him," 11 July 2018 Despite both being grandsons of the Queen and the sons of Prince Charles, the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Harry and Prince William have very different roles in Trooping the Colour, the Queen's annual birthday celebration. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry Doesn't Ride Horseback like Prince William During Trooping the Colour," 9 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near heir apparent



heir apparency

heir apparent

heir at law



Statistics for heir apparent

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for heir apparent

The first known use of heir apparent was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for heir apparent

heir apparent


English Language Learners Definition of heir apparent

: an heir whose right to receive money, property, or a title cannot be taken away

: a person who is very likely to have a job or position after the person who has it now leaves

heir apparent

Legal Definition of heir apparent 

see heir

More from Merriam-Webster on heir apparent

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heir apparent

Comments on heir apparent

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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