her·​i·​tage ˈher-ə-tij How to pronounce heritage (audio)
: property that descends to an heir
: 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.
: tradition
the party's heritage of secularism
: something possessed as a result of one's natural situation or birth : birthright
the heritage of natural freedom was long since cast awayV. L. Parrington

Example Sentences

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 Surrounded by a historic cemetery, St. Martin's is a beloved gem of the religious and architectural heritage of Texas. Gabi De La Rosa, Chron, 17 May 2023 Emhoff, a lawyer by trade and the first Jewish spouse of any U.S. president or vice president, spoke to the long arc of Jewish American history and his own Jewish heritage. Oren Oppenheim, ABC News, 16 May 2023 Owner Ralph Dundas wanted to replicate a Scottish estate in homage to his heritage, and no expense was spared in importing materials from Europe. Lauren Dana Ellman, Travel + Leisure, 15 May 2023 Showroom Etc founder Elaine Mensah explains that sustainable practices are built into the heritage and business models of many of her clients’ brands, with low-waste production, natural fabrics and dyes, couture-level hand-craftsmanship and local sourcing and hiring. Fawnia Soo Hoo, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 May 2023 To attract and keep them engaged, luxury brands are rapidly having to move beyond the traditional notions of luxury–such as status, legacy, prestige, and heritage–towards a new set of values: inclusivity, sustainability, transparency, technology, and circular innovation. Sophie Maxwell, Fortune, 12 May 2023 Read More: 52-Foot Long Ancient Egyptian Papyrus Discovered Peering Through Solid Objects with Muography To prepare for the sophisticated muographic scan, the researchers from Italy and Japan reviewed a more conventional laser scan of the tombs prepared by an Italian cultural heritage program. Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 9 May 2023 Wooden paddles mounted by the front staircase nod to the town’s heritage without hitting anyone over the head. Elizabeth Kiefer, House Beautiful, 4 May 2023 Greater Boston is home to a diverse Asian American Pacific Islander community, whose heritages contribute to the area’s rich cultural tapestry. Abigail Lee, BostonGlobe.com, 3 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heritage.' 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 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).

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near heritage

Cite this Entry

“Heritage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heritage. Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


her·​i·​tage ˈher-ət-ij How to pronounce heritage (audio)
: property that is handed down to an heir
: something acquired from the past
a rich heritage of folklore

More from Merriam-Webster on heritage

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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