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1 : of, relating to, or being a previous or outdated computer system transfer the legacy data a legacy system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

The Spanish political left, however, has been more willing to confront the legacy of the country’s fascist past, depending on the politics of the moment. Joseph Zeballos-roig, The New Republic, "How to Dig Up a Dictator," 11 July 2018 The Auxiliary Board is devoted to preserving the legacy of the theater for future generations. Candace Jordan, chicagotribune.com, "Devil's Ball fires up support for Auditorium Theatre," 10 July 2018 In addition to their on-track performance, the finalists are judged on their ability to help uphold and spread the legacy of Kulwicki, the late 1992 NASCAR champion from Greenfield. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Where racing will take him, Justin Mondeik can't be sure, but he's eager to follow the road," 9 July 2018 Those of us who would defend our nation’s environmental defenses, a vital yet under-appreciated legacy of the last half-century, need to examine the recent successes of anti-environmental conservatism and learn. Christopher Sellers, Vox, "How Republicans came to embrace anti-environmentalism," 6 July 2018 His hips ached constantly, the legacy of a car accident Bench endured as a teenager. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Johnny Bench Is Already a Hall-of-Famer, But He's Looking For a New Distinction," 5 July 2018 In early June of this year, Rockford, Illinois, celebrated Rockford Peaches Day—a day to honor the legacy of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team and the inspiration for the 1992 feature film, A League of Their Own. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Catch a Game at These Still-Functional All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Ballparks This Summer," 29 June 2018 The corporation has been recognizing immigrants since 2006 to commemorate the legacy of its founder, Andrew Carnegie, who came to the U.S. from Scotland. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "UW President Ana Mari Cauce, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal win ‘great immigrants’ recognition from Carnegie Corporation," 28 June 2018 A few miles north, in Tri-Taylor, the Slide Bar is building off the legacy of Rick's Bar, the beloved neighborhood joint that preceded it. Emeline Posner, Chicago Reader, "One City Tap and Slide Bar prove there’s still a future for the south-side neighborhood bar," 21 June 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

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

Adjective

see legacy entry 1

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Statistics for legacy

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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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