heir·​loom | \ ˈer-ˌlüm How to pronounce heirloom (audio) \

Definition of heirloom

1 : a piece of property (such as a deed or charter) that descends to the heir as an inseparable part of an inheritance of real property
2 : something of special value handed down from one generation to another The pin she's wearing is a family heirloom.
3 : a variety of plant that has originated under cultivation and that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals heirloom tomatoes

Examples of heirloom in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Photos and documents could be destroyed and family heirlooms sold at auction. cleveland, "5 financial tasks you should finish by year-end," 26 Dec. 2019 Five feet down in a pit at a wooded grove on Quadra Island, Daryl Fedje is handing up stone tools with the good cheer of someone hauling heirlooms out of grandmother’s trunk in the attic. Rafal Gerszak, Smithsonian, "It’s one of the greatest mysteries of our time. But archaeologists and even geneticists are closer than ever to understanding when humans made the first bold journey to the Americas," 19 Dec. 2019 Best of all, the lucky recipient will be one of just nine people to own the heirloom-worthy pièce de résistance. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "11 Swoon-Worthy Beauty Gifts for the Friend Who Has Everything," 12 Dec. 2019 Like Kate's royal heirloom tiara, her sash and brooch aren't the type of items that can be found in a store. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Wore Her Royal Family Order and Royal Victorian Order Sash to the Diplomatic Reception," 11 Dec. 2019 The two claim Collins seized several thousands of dollars worth of personal items, as well as family heirlooms and the ashes of a dead great-grandfather. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, "Landlord evicted Baltimore tenants, seized their property a day before they planned to move, suit says," 19 Nov. 2019 Photos and documents could be destroyed and family heirlooms sold at auction. Liz Weston, chicagotribune.com, "Liz Weston: 5 financial tasks you should tackle by year-end," 18 Nov. 2019 Chef Jose Alarcon of Popol Vuh and Centro highlights heirloom maize from his native Mexico to make tortillas and tetelas. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, "New TPT series highlights local chefs’ cultural cuisines," 16 Nov. 2019 Does your family have a favorite holiday side dish or an heirloom recipe that someone has to make every holiday? courant.com, "Community News For The South Windsor Edition," 8 Nov. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for heirloom

Middle English ayre lome, heyr lome, from ayre, heyr heir entry 1 + lome "implement" — more at loom entry 1

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Time Traveler for heirloom

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The first known use of heirloom was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heirloom.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heirloom. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for heirloom


How to pronounce heirloom (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heirloom

: a valuable object that is owned by a family for many years and passed from one generation to another
US : an old type of plant that is still available because individual people have continued to grow it for many years


heir·​loom | \ ˈer-ˌlüm How to pronounce heirloom (audio) \

Kids Definition of heirloom

: a piece of personal property handed down in a family from one generation to another

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More from Merriam-Webster on heirloom

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heirloom

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heirloom

Spanish Central: Translation of heirloom

Nglish: Translation of heirloom for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heirloom

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