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 There were other sites that could qualify as cultural heritage for Japanese macaques. Maciek Pożoga, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Japan’s Wild Snow Monkeys Can Teach Us About Animal Culture," 5 Jan. 2021 Lillian Johnson, a writer and civil rights activist, who led the Detroit Study Club, a Black women's literary organization founded in 1898 that extended its involvement to include social welfare and cultural heritage issues. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "She was 15-year-old smuggler in Detroit: How her family's shop became Woodbridge Tavern," 2 Jan. 2021 The state previously used a design that depicted a palmetto tree and a crescent moon, and the historians wished to honor the state’s heritage by adopting a variation of it. Peter Aitken, Fox News, "South Carolina debuts new state flag and the public hates it," 1 Jan. 2021 According to multiple reports, Cummins, who wrote of identifying as white, began claiming Latina heritage later in life, on account of having a white Puerto Rican grandmother. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the top Latino media moments of 2020 — and hints of what to expect in 2021," 31 Dec. 2020 But ideally a country will establish an element’s living heritage status and safeguarding measures before the situation is dire. Washington Post, "29 cultural traditions join UNESCO’s living heritage list," 31 Dec. 2020 Where diversity brings us together in appreciation of different thought and heritage. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "New Year’s wishes for 2021 from San Antonio’s first lady, the city’s poet laureate and other notables," 30 Dec. 2020 After that, everyone headed towards the water, where a fire circle was set, a bongo player and traditional musicians played, and a henna party to honor Elizabeth’s Middle Eastern heritage awaited. Shira Savada, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Pre-COVID Destination Wedding Has Us Dreaming of Traveling Again," 30 Dec. 2020 Arabic spices meet the Persian touch of pistachios in the kefta (skewered ground meat) at Mamnoon in Seattle, where the food combines the owners’ Syrian, Lebanese, and Persian heritage with chef Garrett Melkonian’s Armenian background. Sunset Magazine, "These Lamb Burger Recipes Open Up a Whole New World of Hearty, Powerful Toppings," 29 Dec. 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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Heritage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heritage. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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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