her·​i·​ot | \ ˈher-ē-ət How to pronounce heriot (audio) \

Definition of heriot

: a feudal duty or tribute due under English law to a lord on the death of a tenant

First Known Use of heriot

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for heriot

Middle English heriet, heriette, heriot, going back to Old English heregeatwe "arms and gear of a soldier, payment due to a lord on the death of a retainer (originally, at least notionally, arms given a retainer by the lord and hence returned to him)," from here "body of armed men" + geatwe "trappings, adornments," probably reduced form of getāwa "apparatus, implements," collective noun derivative of tāwian "to prepare, make" — more at harry, taw entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about heriot

Time Traveler for heriot

Time Traveler

The first known use of heriot was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for heriot

Cite this Entry

“Heriot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heriot. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

More from Merriam-Webster on heriot

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heriot

Comments on heriot

What made you want to look up heriot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!