her·​i·​tage | \ ˈher-ə-tij How to pronounce heritage (audio) , ˈhe-rə- \

Definition of heritage

1 : property that descends to an heir
2a : something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor : legacy, inheritance proud of her Chinese heritage a rich heritage of folklore The battlefields are part of our heritage and should be preserved.
b : tradition the party's heritage of secularism
3 : something possessed as a result of one's natural situation or birth : birthright the heritage of natural freedom was long since cast away— V. L. Parrington

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Examples of heritage in a Sentence

hospitality is a cherished Southern heritage this farm is my heritage from my father, as it was for him from his father
Recent Examples on the Web Don’t forget to enjoy the island’s rich Creole heritage as well, with foods like crabback (spiced local crab) and callaloo (leaf stew) and folkloric, African inspired dance, called bélé. Kristin Braswell, USA TODAY, "Find the right Caribbean island, from luxurious St. Barths to budget-friendly Puerto Rico," 14 Jan. 2020 This cherished poetic heritage is not enough to save the fishermen of the Yangzi. The Economist, "Chaguan To preserve the Yangzi’s fish, officials are using a blunt method," 11 Jan. 2020 Land Rover Defender The new Defender marries a name steeped in heritage to modern styling, an unusual combination. Dallas News, "What are the most interesting vehicles coming in 2020?," 11 Jan. 2020 Patrick Vilaire, a sculptor and grassroots cultural heritage worker, rescued books and artifacts in the rubble. Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Magazine, "To safeguard cultural heritage, a massive Smithsonian-led cultural rescue operation can now be mobilized to help countries recover from disaster," 10 Jan. 2020 On one level, this outcry in support of protecting cultural heritage suggests that a majority of people recognize, almost intuitively, that a historic temple is never just a historic temple. Elizabeth Silkes, Time, "Cultural Heritage Reminds Us of Our Shared Humanity. That's Why Threats Against Them Are So Dangerous," 10 Jan. 2020 Two minutes later, Coats and two others ran back to the heritage center to confront Simmons, who had come outside, prosecutors said. Evan Sernoffsky, SFChronicle.com, "Alleged gang members federally indicted for deadly shootout at SF’s Fillmore Heritage Center," 9 Jan. 2020 This outdoor area may be fenced (in a backyard or garden if raised on a heritage farm!) and/or covered with netting. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "5 Ways Eggs Supercharge Your Health Through Your Diet," 9 Jan. 2020 First, the descriptions of the products, where great attention is paid to emphasise the rich cultural relevance and heritage associated with these products. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Is Amazon India’s dedicated handloom storefront helping artisans?," 8 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heritage.' 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 heritage

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for heritage

Middle English heritage, eritage, borrowed from Anglo-French, from heriter "to inherit, make an heir" (going back to Late Latin hērēditāre "to leave as an inheritance, inherit, make an heir," from Latin hērēd-, hērēs heir entry 1 + -itāre, verb suffix) + -age -age

Note: The Latin verb suffix -itāre normally has repetitive or frequentative value (cf. hesitate, meditate, palpitate), not factitive or causative value, so in this instance it may be of distinct origin. A possible model is the adjective hērēditārius (see hereditary), in the formation of which a stem hērēdit- appears to have been extracted from the noun hērēditāt-, hērēditās "succession to an heir, inheritance," by construing the suffix as -āt-, -ās (or, alternatively, *hērēditātārius was shortened by haplology to hērēditārius).

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Learn More about heritage

Time Traveler for heritage

Time Traveler

The first known use of heritage was in the 13th century

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Statistics for heritage

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heritage.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heritage. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for heritage


How to pronounce heritage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heritage

: the traditions, achievements, beliefs, etc., that are part of the history of a group or nation


her·​i·​tage | \ ˈher-ə-tij How to pronounce heritage (audio) \

Kids Definition of heritage

: the traditions, achievements, and beliefs that are part of the history of a group of people

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