hereditary

adjective he·red·i·tary \ hə-ˈre-də-ˌter-ē \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of hereditary

1 a 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
2 a : received or passing by inheritance or required to pass by inheritance or by reason of birth
  • hereditary wealth
b : having title (see 1title 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

hereditarily

play \hə-ˌre-də-ˈter-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of hereditary in a Sentence

  1. He suffers from a rare hereditary condition.

  2. eye and hair color are hereditary

Recent Examples of hereditary from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of hereditary

Middle English hereditarie, from Latin hereditarius, from hereditas

hereditary Synonyms

Synonyms
genetic (also genetical), heritable, inborn, inheritable, inherited
Antonyms
nonhereditary
Related Words
congenital, inbred, inherent, innate, native, natural
Near Antonyms
acquired

Synonym Discussion of 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

Other Genetics Terms


HEREDITARY Defined for English Language Learners

hereditary

adjective

Definition of hereditary for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

hereditary

adjective he·red·i·tary \ hə-ˈre-də-ˌter-ē \

Definition of hereditary for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

hereditary

adjective he·red·i·tary \ hə-ˈred-ə-ˌter-ē \

medical Definition of hereditary

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

hereditarily

play \-ˌred-ə-ˈter-ə-lē\ adverb

Law Dictionary

hereditary

adjective he·red·i·tary \ hə-ˈre-də-ˌter-ē \

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

Origin and Etymology of hereditary

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



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