her·​i·​ta·​ble ˈher-ə-tə-bəl How to pronounce heritable (audio)
: capable of being inherited or of passing by inheritance

Examples of heritable in a Sentence

heritable characteristics like skin and eye and hair color
Recent Examples on the Web Something that is 100% heritable is entirely caused by genes, while something that is 0% heritable is entirely caused by the environment (such as a person’s spoken language). Madeleine Streets, SELF, 13 June 2022 In the mid–seventeenth century, fearful that the growing class of temporary and former servants might displace them, white property owners passed laws that phased out indentures for white people and established a system of chattel slavery (permanent and heritable) for Black people. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, 26 June 2023 Her mechanism of honesty is highly trustworthy — but honesty, like certain talents, isn’t heritable by the next generation. Rachel Cusk, New York Times, 2 May 2023 Last month, a second committee, convened by the National Academies in the wake of the Crispr baby scandal, released a 225-page report describing how safe and ethically permissible heritable human genome editing might proceed. Megan Molteni, Wired, 29 Oct. 2020 The goal of all this, according to leaders like Benjamin, is to find a reliable measure of the heritable influence on different traits, so that other economists and sociologists and political scientists can control for genetics in their own experiments. Megan Molteni, STAT, 24 May 2022 For one, studies comparing identical and fraternal twins (who share nearly 100 percent and roughly 50 percent of their genes, respectively) and of families indicate that the disorder is strongly heritable, suggesting there may be a genetic component. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, 1 Jan. 2022 It is widely known that autism is heritable. Jennifer "jay" Palumbo, Forbes, 18 Aug. 2022 Are sleep issues heritable? Jessica Grose, New York Times, 29 Sep. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heritable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, from heriter "to inherit, make an heir" + -able -able — more at heritage

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of heritable was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near heritable

Cite this Entry

“Heritable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heritable. Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


her·​i·​ta·​ble ˈher-ət-ə-bəl How to pronounce heritable (audio)
: capable of being inherited : hereditary
heritable differences in structure

Medical Definition


her·​i·​ta·​ble ˈher-ət-ə-bəl How to pronounce heritable (audio)
: hereditary
one of several heritable childhood cancersW. K. Cavenee et al.

Legal Definition


her·​i·​ta·​ble ˈher-ə-tə-bəl How to pronounce heritable (audio)

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