inherit

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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 lifeMatthew 19:29 (Revised Standard Version)

intransitive verb

: to take or hold a possession or rights by inheritance
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-
noun
or inheritrix

Example Sentences

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 But what kind of world are these young people going to inherit? David Boynton, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2023 Distributions to beneficiaries who inherit a Roth IRA also are tax free. Bob Carlson, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 Towards the close of her address, Queen Margrethe spoke about the joy her grandchildren bring her and the big year ahead for Prince Christian, who will inherit the Danish throne one day. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 3 Jan. 2023 Under changes made in 2019, non-spousal beneficiaries — meaning children who are over the age of 18 — who inherit retirement accounts have to empty them within 10 years after the original accountholder dies (for deaths after 2019). Bloomberg News, oregonlive, 1 Jan. 2023 Who should rightfully inherit the throne of the legendary King Shaka Zulu? John Eligon, New York Times, 16 Aug. 2022 The owner, Dean Wiltshire, commented that one day our kids will inherit the trailer. Whitney Spivey, Outside Online, 18 Jan. 2023 Warren Buffett, who has long pledged to donate more than 99% of his wealth to charitable causes, has also said his children will inherit little of his fortune, which Bloomberg now pegs at $111 billion. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 17 Jan. 2023 The daughters will now inherit the mansion and its grounds, Elvis Presley Enterprises confirmed. Debra Kamin, BostonGlobe.com, 14 Jan. 2023 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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near inherit

Cite this Entry

“Inherit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inherit. Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

inherit

verb
in·​her·​it in-ˈher-ət How to pronounce inherit (audio)
1
: to receive by legal right from a person at the person's death
2
: to receive by genetic transmission
inherit red hair
3
: to have handed on to one by someone else
inherit a job
inheritable
-ət-ə-bəl
adjective
inheritor noun

Medical Definition

inherit

transitive verb
in·​her·​it in-ˈher-ət How to pronounce inherit (audio)
: to receive from a parent or ancestor by genetic transmission

Legal Definition

inherit

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

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

intransitive verb

: to take or hold a possession or rights by inheritance
inheritor 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

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