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 hereditarily (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for hereditary

Synonyms

genetic (also genetical), heritable, inborn, inheritable, inherited

Antonyms

nonhereditary

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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

Some of the functions are part of any system of hereditary monarchy, but others are very much in the hands of the sovereign . . . WSJ, "Five Best: Robert Hardman on the Making of the Modern Monarchy," 25 Jan. 2019 Olive-McCoy, 44, has hereditary angioedema (HAE), a life-threatening disease so rare that many doctors have only read about it. Carolyn Y. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Mother, wife, million-dollar patient: Keeping her alive is a full-time job - and good business for drug companies," 26 Apr. 2018 Doctors who look for hereditary factors and brain disorders recommend drugs. David P. Barash, WSJ, "‘Good Reasons for Bad Feelings’ Review: Suffering’s Silver Lining," 13 Feb. 2019 High risk factors include: Personal history of colon polyps or inflammatory bowel disease Family history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome Q: What are signs and symptoms for colon cancer? The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati.com, "Service volunteer beats cancer with the help of some familiar faces," 26 Apr. 2018 Some have been approved, like Luxturna from Spark Therapeutics, which treats a hereditary disease that causes blindness and affects roughly 2,000 patients in the U.S. Roche agreed to buy... Charley Grant, WSJ, "The Side Effects of Million-Dollar Drugs," 1 Mar. 2019 Seven of the royal families are hereditary monarchies, with the northern Kedah sultanate one of the oldest unbroken dynasties in the world, dating back to the 12th century. Eileen Ng, The Seattle Times, "A look at Malaysia’s monarchy before sultans pick next king," 23 Jan. 2019 Becky’s son also became ill with a blood disease, one that could have been hereditary. Fiona Tapp, SELF, "What It’s Like to Fill in the Gaps in Your Health History When You’re Adopted," 18 Jan. 2019 But women received genetic testing for hereditary cancer risk three times as often than men in a study published in June in the journal JAMA Oncology. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "The Genetic Test Some Men Don’t Know They Need," 7 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for hereditary

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hereditary

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

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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 hereditarily (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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