hereditary

adjective
he·​red·​i·​tary | \ hə-ˈre-də-ˌter-ē How to pronounce hereditary (audio) \

Definition of hereditary

1a biology : genetically transmitted or transmittable from parent to offspring The disease is hereditary.
b : characteristic of or fostered by one's predecessors a hereditary feud
2a : received or passing by inheritance or required to pass by inheritance or by reason of birth hereditary wealth
b : having title (see title entry 1 sense 4a) or possession through inheritance or by reason of birth hereditary nobility
3 : of a kind established by tradition hereditary enemies
4 : of or relating to inheritance or heredity unless he had the hereditary dispositions which he has, he would not behave the way he does— Arthur Pap

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Other Words from hereditary

hereditarily \ hə-​ˌre-​də-​ˈter-​ə-​lē How to pronounce hereditary (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for hereditary

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for hereditary

innate, inborn, inbred, congenital, hereditary mean not acquired after birth. innate applies to qualities or characteristics that are part of one's inner essential nature. an innate sense of fair play inborn suggests a quality or tendency either actually present at birth or so marked and deep-seated as to seem so. her inborn love of nature inbred suggests something either acquired from parents by heredity or so deeply rooted and ingrained as to seem acquired in that way. inbred political loyalties congenital and hereditary refer to what is acquired before or at birth, the former to things acquired during fetal development and the latter to things transmitted from one's ancestors. a congenital heart murmur eye color is hereditary

Examples of hereditary in a Sentence

He suffers from a rare hereditary condition. eye and hair color are hereditary
Recent Examples on the Web When Wolff's father died from heart failure and an abnormal heart rhythm in 1978, doctors told the family the condition wasn't hereditary. David Wahlberg, Star Tribune, "Tables turned: UW Health cardiologist gets rare transplant," 6 Feb. 2021 The sheikhdom's hereditary rulers suppress dissent. Arkansas Online, "Virus-restricted Israelis find freedom to celebrate in Dubai," 1 Jan. 2021 In it, a group of researchers led by Patrick Yu-Wai-Man, an ophthalmologist at Cambridge University, investigated a promising new genetic therapy for a hereditary form of blindness. The Economist, "A failed study shows a promising treatment for blindness," 12 Dec. 2020 There’s more at stake, though, than just family wealth; also affected by the rules are the 92 seats in Parliament reserved for hereditary peers, all currently held by men. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Kim Ng breaks a gender barrier in baseball," 16 Nov. 2020 Until 1999, every one of Britain’s hereditary peers was also entitled to sit in the House of Lords. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Earldoms for Girldom," 14 Nov. 2020 Clearly, divorce was hereditary, and Andrea a carrier. Allegra Goodman, The New Yorker, "A Challenge You Have Overcome," 18 Jan. 2021 That tidbit of info is particularly important because the first time Edmund was stung, so was Anthony, and allergies can be hereditary. Maggie Fremont, Vulture, "What to Expect From Bridgerton Season Two, Based on the Novels," 15 Jan. 2021 This month scientists successfully used gene editing for treating sickle cell disease, a hereditary disease common among people of African ancestry. Uwagbale Edward-ekpu, Quartz Africa, "Two Nigerian laboratories have taken big steps to boost genetics medicine in Africa," 14 Dec. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hereditary

Middle English hereditarie, borrowed from Latin hērēditārius "of inheritance, passed by means of inheritance," from hērēdit- (probably extracted from hērēditāt-, hērēditās "succession to an heir, inheritance," taken as hērēdit- + -āt-, -ās) + -ārius -ary entry 2

Note: See note at heritage.

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Time Traveler for hereditary

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hereditary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hereditary. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for hereditary

hereditary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of hereditary

: passed or able to be passed from parent to child before birth
: passing from a person who has died to that person's child or younger relative
: holding a position or title that was passed on from your parent or an older relative

hereditary

adjective
he·​red·​i·​tary | \ hə-ˈre-də-ˌter-ē How to pronounce hereditary (audio) \

Kids Definition of hereditary

1 : capable of being passed from parent to offspring hereditary disease
2 : received or passing from an ancestor to an heir

hereditary

adjective
he·​red·​i·​tary | \ hə-ˈred-ə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce hereditary (audio) \

Medical Definition of hereditary

1 : genetically transmitted or transmittable from parent to offspring — compare acquired sense 1, congenital sense 2, familial
2 : of or relating to inheritance or heredity

Other Words from hereditary

hereditarily \ -​ˌred-​ə-​ˈter-​ə-​lē How to pronounce hereditary (audio) \ adverb

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hereditary

adjective
he·​red·​i·​tary | \ hə-ˈre-də-ˌter-ē How to pronounce hereditary (audio) \

Legal Definition of hereditary

1 : received or passing by inheritance or required to pass by inheritance hereditary shares
2 : having ownership or possession through inheritance

History and Etymology for hereditary

Latin hereditarius, from hereditas inheritance, from hered-, heres heir

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