legacy

noun
leg·​a·​cy | \ ˈle-gə-sē \
plural legacies

Definition of legacy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a gift by will especially of money or other personal property : bequest She left us a legacy of a million dollars.
2 : something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past the legacy of the ancient philosophers The war left a legacy of pain and suffering.
3 : a candidate for membership in an organization (such as a school or fraternal order) who is given special status because of a familial relationship to a member Legacies, or children of alumni, are three times more likely to be accepted to Harvard than other high school graduates with the same (sometimes better) scores …— Michael Lind

legacy

adjective

Definition of legacy (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being a previous or outdated computer system transfer the legacy data a legacy system
2 : of, relating to, associated with, or carried over from an earlier time, technology, business, etc. And it is about more than just TV—newspapers, magazines, radio, all the "legacy" media are feeling the earth move beneath them. Journalists look out and see thousands of empty campus TV lounges and newsprint-less recycling bins and millions of iPads and smart phones and they wonder what's coming next.— Dante Chinni Following ISG's takeover, 100,000 Bethlehem retirees and their dependents also lost their medical coverage, and they will get only a fraction of their original pension benefits. Avoiding those expenses, known as legacy costs, will save ISG more than $400 million a year.— Nelson D. Schwartz

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Did You Know?

In its basic meaning, a legacy is a gift of money or other personal property that's granted by the terms of a will—often a substantial gift that needs to be properly managed. But the word is used much more broadly as well. So, for instance, much of Western civilization—law, philosophy, aesthetics— could be called the undying legacy of ancient Greece. And the rights and opportunities that women enjoy today are partly the legacy of the early suffragists and feminists.

Examples of legacy in a Sentence

Noun

She left us a legacy of a million dollars. He left his children a legacy of love and respect. The war left a legacy of pain and suffering. Her artistic legacy lives on through her children.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gumbs said the project has grown from the legacy of feminist bookstores. Eric Ginsburg, Teen Vogue, "These Heroes Are Saving Black Feminist Classics by Putting Them on Wheels," 8 Jan. 2019 His life and his legacy are a great example for us all. Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "‘His legacy will live on forever’: Seattle sports figures reflect on Paul Allen’s impact with Seahawks," 15 Oct. 2018 Christopher Wilson is chairman of the board of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, which helps protect the city’s legacy of modernist buildings. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 To progressives, such critics have sanitized King’s legacy, erasing its radical elements to avoid acknowledging persistent racial inequality. Coleman Hughes, WSJ, "Martin Luther King, Colorblind Radical," 17 Jan. 2019 While the show was clearly a nod to the legacy and nostalgia of Versace's greatest moments, its New York location was also meant to be a celebration of freedom and empowerment, according to Donatella's Instagram. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Versace Recreated Two of Its Most Iconic Red Carpet Dresses on the Runway," 3 Dec. 2018 Current highlights include the permanent Gallery of California History, which pays tribute to the legacy of early LGBTQ+ leaders in San Francisco, and the Gallery of California Natural Sciences, which looks at California’s changing climate. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "48 Hours in Oakland," 13 Sep. 2018 Democrats in Michigan are warning Snyder that signing the bills could tar his legacy, a repeat of pleas that did not sway Walker. David Eggert, The Seattle Times, "GOP power play in Michigan must go through pragmatic Snyder," 17 Dec. 2018 Read on for more from Duke about his activism, the legacy of Black Panther, and what's to come for 2019. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Black Panther Breakout Winston Duke Is Ready to Reset Hollywood," 4 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Legacy outdoor companies like Patagonia are selling food now, as are upstart outfits like Good to-Go, a Maine company that Jennifer Scism, 52, a chef and former partner at the acclaimed New York restaurant Annisa, started in 2014. Kim Severson, New York Times, "Upscale Food and Gear Bring Campsite Cooking Out of the Wild," 26 June 2017 Legacy coach Christopher Word isn’t at all surprised by Powers’ success. Shawn Smajstrla, star-telegram, "Mansfield Legacy golf standout remains hot in summer play," 21 June 2017 Legacy students whose parents are alumni and who contribute a lot of money to the college? Gerald Bradshaw, Post-Tribune, "Colleges look for students who can make an impact," 10 May 2017

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1988, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for legacy

Noun and Adjective

Middle English legacie office of a legate, bequest, from Anglo-French or Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, office of a legate, from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus

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Statistics for legacy

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for legacy

The first known use of legacy was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for legacy

legacy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of legacy

: something (such as property or money) that is received from someone who has died
: something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past

legacy

noun
leg·​a·​cy | \ ˈle-gə-sē \
plural legacies

Kids Definition of legacy

1 : property (as money) left to a person by a will
2 : something (as memories or knowledge) that comes from the past or a person of the past the poet's legacy

legacy

noun
leg·​a·​cy | \ ˈle-gə-sē \
plural legacies

Legal Definition of legacy

: a gift of property by will specifically : a gift of personal property by will : bequest — see also ademption — compare devise
conjoint legacy
in the civil law of Louisiana : a legacy by a single disposition to more than one legatee or of indivisible property to more than one legatee
demonstrative legacy \ di-​ˈmän-​strə-​tiv-​ \
: a legacy payable from a designated fund or asset or from the general assets of the estate to the extent the specified fund or asset fails to satisfy the legacy
general legacy
: a legacy payable out of the general assets of the estate
legacy under a universal title
in the civil law of Louisiana : a legacy that consists of a specified proportion (as one-half), a specified type (as movables), or a specified proportion of a specified type of the testator's property
particular legacy
in the civil law of Louisiana : any legacy that is not a universal legacy or a legacy under a universal title

called also legacy under particular title

residuary legacy
: a legacy that consists of all of the testator's estate which has not been distributed through other legacies or charges upon the estate
specific legacy
: a legacy payable only from a specific fund or asset in the estate
universal legacy
in the civil law of Louisiana : a legacy by which a testator gives to one or more legatees all of his or her property at the time of death

History and Etymology for legacy

Medieval Latin legatio, from Latin legare to bequeath

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Comments on legacy

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