inheritance

noun

in·​her·​i·​tance in-ˈher-ə-tən(t)s How to pronounce inheritance (audio)
-ˈhe-rə-
1
: something that is or may be inherited
2
a
: the act of inheriting property
b
: the reception of genetic qualities by transmission from parent to offspring
c
: the acquisition of a possession, condition, or trait from past generations
3
a
b
: a valuable possession that is a common heritage from nature
4
obsolete : possession

Examples of inheritance in a Sentence

She began her own business with the inheritance she got from her grandfather. He left sizable inheritances to his children. The buildings are part of the city's architectural inheritance. the inheritance of an estate the inheritance of a genetic trait
Recent Examples on the Web Estate or inheritance taxes are also non-existent, and seniors can keep all their retirement incomes tax-free. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 9 Feb. 2024 But that couldn’t be, because my vinyl collection — my inheritance from my grandfather — was in there. Brooklyn White-Grier, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2024 Call it hopeful naïveté, call it instinct or call it a kind of inheritance, but the two young actors, then just 19 and 20, were right. Cat Cardenas, Los Angeles Times, 15 Jan. 2024 Our respective inheritances amounted to a considerable amount of money. Jeanne Phillips, The Mercury News, 9 Jan. 2024 Like Cromwell, Uncle Ewan is passionate about social causes, ultimately deciding to donate Cousin Greg’s inheritance to Greenpeace. Jaden Thompson, Variety, 4 Jan. 2024 At the beginning of No Name (1862), for example, two sisters are left without an inheritance after learning their deceased parents were not legally married at the time of their births. Katherine Hobbs, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Jan. 2024 This can include cash, real estate or other inheritances. Rina Mehta, Kansas City Star, 24 Jan. 2024 And the average inheritance received by white families is nearly three times the average inheritance received by Black families. Ben Wieder, Miami Herald, 26 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English enheritaunce, borrowed from Anglo-French enheritance, from enheriter "to give (a person) right of inheritance, inherit" + -ance -ance

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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

Dictionary Entries Near inheritance

Cite this Entry

“Inheritance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inheritance. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

inheritance

noun
in·​her·​i·​tance in-ˈher-ət-ən(t)s How to pronounce inheritance (audio)
1
: the act of inheriting
2
: something that is or may be inherited

Medical Definition

inheritance

noun
in·​her·​i·​tance in-ˈher-ət-ən(t)s How to pronounce inheritance (audio)
1
: the reception of genetic qualities by transmission from parent to offspring
2
: all of the genetic characters or qualities transmitted from parent to offspring compare genotype sense 2, phenotype

Legal Definition

inheritance

noun
in·​her·​i·​tance in-ˈher-ə-təns How to pronounce inheritance (audio)
1
: the act of inheriting: as
a
: the acquisition of real or personal property under the laws of intestacy or sometimes by will
b
: the succession upon the death of an owner either by will or by operation of law to all the estate, rights, and liabilities of the decedent
2
a
: something that is or may be inherited
b
: something to which one is entitled as heir
increasing the son's potential inheritance under [the] willLesnick v. Lesnick, 577 So. 2d 856 (1991)

More from Merriam-Webster on inheritance

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