inheritance

noun
in·​her·​i·​tance | \ in-ˈher-ə-tən(t)s How to pronounce inheritance (audio) , -ˈhe-rə-\

Definition of inheritance

1a : 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
2 : something that is or may be inherited
3a : tradition
b : a valuable possession that is a common heritage from nature
4 obsolete : possession

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Back in Los Angeles after graduate school, Rountree received a small inheritance from his uncle, minimalist painter Aubrey Penny. Catherine Womack, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Christopher Rountree’s pursuit of music magic inspired by Descanso Gardens," 6 Sep. 2019 The comments seemed to imply that American greatness is built on a cultural inheritance that some people cannot access, whether born in America or not. The Economist, "A society’s values and beliefs matter for its economy," 25 July 2019 The scion of his family’s eponymous rifle company, and heir to its fortune, William died in 1881, leaving his widow a $20 million inheritance, and heiress to 50 percent ownership in the firearms business. David Nash, House Beautiful, "Inside the Winchester Mystery House, the Craziest Home in the Country," 15 May 2019 Back in Los Angeles after graduate school, Rountree received a small inheritance from his uncle, minimalist painter Aubrey Penny. Catherine Womack, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Christopher Rountree’s pursuit of music magic inspired by Descanso Gardens," 6 Sep. 2019 Back in Los Angeles after graduate school, Rountree received a small inheritance from his uncle, minimalist painter Aubrey Penny. Catherine Womack, Los Angeles Times, "For Christopher Rountree, personal tragedy leads to a fearless pursuit of music magic," 5 Sep. 2019 What can make dealing with big old tropicals even harder is that sometimes these plants didn’t start with you or me but as a family inheritance — passed down from generation to generation. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Uh-oh. Here's how to deal with overgrown house plants come summer’s end," 16 Aug. 2019 Cynthia and her partner, Mary (Michaela Watkins), were hoping for a more generous inheritance, but this one is not without its lucrative possibilities. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Review: Politically barbed ‘Sword of Trust’ takes on Civil War truthers," 25 July 2019 The Guardian, in its 2015 article, also mentioned a small inheritance that enabled him to buy the house upstate. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, "Michael Seidenberg, Who Ran a (Sort of) Secret Bookstore, Dies at 64," 15 July 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for inheritance

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

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Statistics for inheritance

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inheritance

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

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More Definitions for inheritance

inheritance

noun

Financial Definition of inheritance

What It Is

An inheritance includes those assets of an estate that are bequeathed, in whole or in part, to specific heirs.

How It Works

The assets that comprise an estate are customarily transferred to individuals specified by name or relationship (e.g. "Howard Jones, III or "grandchild") in the will of the deceased. In the absence of a will, estate assets are transferred according to laws that protect the assets of the deceased (generally passing them to descendants in a specific order).  Once transferred, an inheritance is heavily taxed.

For example, Jim's estate is worth $10,000. His will specifies that his son and daughter each receive $5000. Following Jim's death, the son and daughter each receive $5000. This is their inheritance.

Why It Matters

An inheritance represents the material legacy an individual leaves behind after his deThe definition of inheritance on InvestingAnswersath. In addition to the family dynamics involved in the transfer of an inheritance, there are significant tax implications for the inheritors depending on their circumstances and on the value of assets received.

Source: Investing Answers

inheritance

noun

English Language Learners Definition of inheritance

: money, property, etc., that is received from someone when that person dies
: something from the past that is still important or valuable
: the act of inheriting something

inheritance

noun
in·​her·​i·​tance | \ in-ˈher-ə-təns How to pronounce inheritance (audio) \

Kids Definition of inheritance

1 : the act of getting by legal right from a person at his or her death or through heredity
2 : something gotten by legal right from a person at his or her death

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inheritance

noun
in·​her·​i·​tance | \ in-ˈher-ət-ən(t)s How to pronounce inheritance (audio) \

Medical Definition of inheritance

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

inheritance

noun
in·​her·​i·​tance | \ in-ˈher-ə-təns How to pronounce inheritance (audio) \

Legal Definition of inheritance

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
2a : 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)

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Comments on inheritance

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