heir apparent


plural heirs apparent
: an heir whose right to an inheritance is indefeasible except by exclusion under a valid will if he or she survives the ancestor
: one whose succession especially to a position or role appears certain under existing circumstances

Example Sentences

The coach named her assistant as her heir apparent.
Recent Examples on the Web The top title is typically given to the eldest son of the monarch who is heir apparent. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2022 There is no automatic succession to the title, so his heir apparent—his eldest son, Prince William—must be created Prince of Wales. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 8 Sep. 2022 Cruz won’t be the heir apparent. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 4 Jan. 2022 In every other way the owners have already set up Dear Jane’s as the incontrovertible heir apparent. Los Angeles Times, 12 Jan. 2023 Lehman, who worked without salary for four years, had long planned to leave state service after one term, leaving Daum as heir apparent. Mark Pazniokas, Hartford Courant, 16 Nov. 2022 For a long time Mr. Sunak was considered Mr. Johnson’s heir apparent. Eshe Nelson, New York Times, 23 Oct. 2022 Bart, the heir apparent to Buster Posey, was sent down at one point last season and wasn’t catching the team’s top starters down the stretch. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Feb. 2023 His own daughter – the heir apparent to the company who had appeared groomed to take the job for years – resigned. Kyle Feldscher, CNN, 14 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near heir apparent

Cite this Entry

“Heir apparent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heir%20apparent. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

heir apparent

plural heirs apparent
: an heir whose right to succeed (as to a throne) cannot be taken away if he or she outlives the present holder

Legal Definition

heir apparent

see heir

More from Merriam-Webster on heir apparent

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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