inheritance

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

Essential Meaning of inheritance

1 : money, property, etc., that is received from someone when that person dies She began her own business with the inheritance she got from her grandfather. He left sizable inheritances to his children. an inheritance tax [=a tax on inherited property or money]
2 : something from the past that is still important or valuable The buildings are part of the city's architectural inheritance. our cultural inheritance
3 : the act of inheriting something the inheritance of an estate the inheritance of a genetic trait

Full Definition of inheritance

1 : something that is or may be inherited
2a : 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
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 Kominek adds that the United States is seeing a massive transfer of farmland from an older generation to a younger one, which has to decide what to do with their inheritance. Matt Simon, Wired, 14 Oct. 2021 When her parents claim her inheritance in order to pay for Perry’s misdeeds, Becky cuts them out of her life. Maggie Doherty, The New Republic, 8 Oct. 2021 Armond said the suspect came from a wealthy family of investors and likely had used his inheritance to build the collection. NBC News, 7 Oct. 2021 Armond said Linhares, who came from a wealthy family, had likely used his inheritance to build the Nazi collection. Fox News, 7 Oct. 2021 Investing her inheritance in the company was a way to keep her father's legacy alive. Geri Stengel, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 The second floor will frame his administration’s tenure, beginning with its inheritance of an economic meltdown and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Alice Yin, chicagotribune.com, 24 Sep. 2021 How high this interest rate is will determine if your inheritance could earn more money elsewhere. orlandosentinel.com, 2 Sep. 2021 Frank withdrew his modest inheritance and bought a house in the small Catskills town of Woodstock. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 28 Aug. 2021

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 2a

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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Learn More About inheritance

Time Traveler for inheritance

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near inheritance

inheritage

inheritance

inheritance tax

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Statistics for inheritance

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inheritance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inheritance. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for inheritance

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

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)

More from Merriam-Webster on inheritance

Nglish: Translation of inheritance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inheritance for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about inheritance

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