in·​her·​it | \ in-ˈher-ət How to pronounce inherit (audio) , -ˈhe-rət \
inherited; inheriting; inherits

Definition of inherit

transitive verb

1a : to receive from an ancestor as a right or title descendible by law at the ancestor's death
b : to receive as a devise or legacy
2 : to receive from a parent or ancestor by genetic transmission inherit a defective enzyme
3 : to have in turn or receive as if from an ancestor inherited the problem from his predecessor
4 : to come into possession of or receive especially as a right or divine portion and every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters … for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life — Matthew 19:29 (Revised Standard Version)

intransitive verb

: to take or hold a possession or rights by inheritance

Other Words from inherit

inheritor \ in-​ˈher-​ə-​tər How to pronounce inherit (audio) , -​ˈhe-​rə-​ \ noun
inheritress \ in-​ˈher-​ə-​trəs How to pronounce inherit (audio) , -​ˈhe-​rə-​ \ or inheritrix \ in-​ˈher-​ə-​(ˌ)triks How to pronounce inherit (audio) , -​ˈhe-​rə-​ \ noun

Examples of inherit in a Sentence

She inherited the family business from her father. Baldness is inherited from the mother's side of the family. She inherited her father's deep blue eyes. She inherited a love of baseball from her dad. When my brother left for college, I inherited his old computer. The company's new president will inherit some complicated legal problems. When the coach quit, her assistant inherited a last-place team. See More
Recent Examples on the Web This disease causes people to inherit a defective copy of a gene that encodes for DNA repairing proteins. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 9 Aug. 2022 As Michele prepares to inherit the role, Benko will soon be tasked with learning any changes that the actress might adopt: tweaks to dialogue, blocking or key changes. New York Times, 3 Aug. 2022 The new guidance means that many Americans inheriting an account will inherit it during their working life, and will therefore pay a much larger tax bill, say accountants. Ashlea Ebeling, WSJ, 1 Aug. 2022 Hawley’s larger goal has been to take the authoritarian strongman mantle from Trump—or at least to inherit it. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 26 July 2022 Yet, In summer 2020, the German courts found that Gustav met the conditions of the will, paving the way for Gustav to inherit Berleburg and overturn the Nazi will of his grandfather. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 7 June 2022 As his oldest son, Edoardo is set to inherit the family's ancestral seat, the 18th-century Villa Mapelli Mozzi palace in northern Italy. Emily Tannenbaum,, 21 July 2022 After his father dies in a strange accident, O.J., a quiet wrangler, reunites with his estranged sister Emerald (Palmer), or Em, to inherit the business. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 July 2022 With Tucker moving on to the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency, Martin, listed at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds by the Heat, stands as the leading candidate to inherit Tucker’s role, with Tucker listed 40 pounds heavier. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 13 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inherit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of inherit

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4

History and Etymology for inherit

Middle English enheriten "to give (a person) right of inheritance, make (a person) heir, come into possession of as an heir," borrowed from Anglo-French enheriter, going back to Late Latin inhērēditāre "to appoint as heir," from Latin in- in- entry 2 + Late Latin hērēditāre "to leave as an inheritance, inherit, make an heir" — more at heritage

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The first known use of inherit was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

16 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inherit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for inherit


in·​her·​it | \ in-ˈher-ət How to pronounce inherit (audio) \
inherited; inheriting

Kids Definition of inherit

1 : to get by legal right from a person at his or her death
2 : to get by heredity I inherited red hair.


transitive verb
in·​her·​it | \ in-ˈher-ət How to pronounce inherit (audio) \

Medical Definition of inherit

: to receive from a parent or ancestor by genetic transmission


in·​her·​it | \ in-ˈher-it How to pronounce inherit (audio) \

Legal Definition of inherit

transitive verb

1 : to receive (property) from an estate by operation of the laws of intestacy broadly : to receive (property) either by will or through intestate succession
2 : succeed

intransitive verb

: to take or hold a possession or rights by inheritance

Other Words from inherit

inheritor \ in-​ˈher-​i-​tər How to pronounce inherit (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for inherit

Middle French enheriter to make one an heir, from Late Latin inhereditare, from Latin in- in + hereditas inheritance

More from Merriam-Webster on inherit

Nglish: Translation of inherit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inherit for Arabic Speakers


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