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

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 Parkinson’s disease, a type of Gaucher disease, several hereditary blood disorders, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Kate Sheridan, STAT, "23andMe’s next challenge: ensuring its customers can get drugs developed with their data," 9 Sep. 2020 Metachromatic leukodystrophy, or MLD, is a rare, hereditary disease that leads to premature death. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, "'Something out of a movie': How a community restored one family's 'faith in humanity'," 5 Sep. 2020 Harry and Meghan used to draw some income from the Duchy of Cornwall, a hereditary estate owned by Prince Charles, but that ended with their departure from Britain. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, "Prince Harry and Meghan Sign Megawatt Netflix Deal," 2 Sep. 2020 Matt is also an astronaut and originally was slated for the trip, but a hereditary health problem grounded him. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "How Hilary Swank and Josh Charles rescue Netflix's spaceship soap opera 'Away'," 29 Aug. 2020 The office was hereditary, handed down from father to son. National Geographic, "Anonymous artists invented ancient Egypt's iconic style," 27 Aug. 2020 Many of these performers are djeli, hereditary musicians. Teju Cole, Condé Nast Traveler, "In Mali, Music Is a Family Legacy," 21 Aug. 2020 This issue always comes up: Is there a contribution of hereditary mistrust? Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "Covid-19 clinical trials are are failing to enroll diverse populations, despite awareness efforts," 14 Aug. 2020 With a stamp of approval from Oprah Winfrey, readership should be high for Wilkerson’s radical examination of race in America through the lens of caste, a system of hereditary social status more commonly associated with India than the United States. Jim Kiest, ExpressNews.com, "Editor’s picks for 10 great fiction and nonfiction books to read in August," 6 Aug. 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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Statistics for hereditary

Last Updated

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hereditary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hereditary. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for hereditary

hereditary

adjective
How to pronounce hereditary (audio)

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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