[ in-her-i-tuhns ]
/ ɪnˈhɛr ɪ təns /


something that is or may be inherited; property passing at the owner's death to the heir or those entitled to succeed; legacy.
the genetic characters transmitted from parent to offspring, taken collectively.
something, as a quality, characteristic, or other immaterial possession, received from progenitors or predecessors as if by succession: an inheritance of family pride.
the act or fact of inheriting by succession, as if by succession, or genetically: to receive property by inheritance.
portion; birthright; heritage: Absolute rule was considered the inheritance of kings.
Obsolete. right of possession; ownership.


WATCH NOW: What Is The Difference Between "Heritage" And "Inheritance"?

While inheritance and heritage may seem similar, and the definitions do have some overlap, there is a distinct difference.


Origin of inheritance

1375–1425; Middle English enheritance < Anglo-French. See inherit, -ance

SYNONYMS FOR inheritance

1 patrimony; bequest. Inheritance, heritage denote something inherited. Inheritance is the common term for property or any possession that comes to an heir: He received the farm as an inheritance from his parents. Heritage indicates something that is bequeathed to a subsequent generation by an individual or by society: our cultural heritage from Greece and Rome.

OTHER WORDS FROM inheritance

pre·in·her·it·ance, noun

Example sentences from the Web for inheritance

British Dictionary definitions for inheritance

/ (ɪnˈhɛrɪtəns) /


  1. hereditary succession to an estate, title, etc
  2. the right of an heir to succeed to property on the death of an ancestor
  3. something that may legally be transmitted to an heir
the act of inheriting
something inherited; heritage
the derivation of characteristics of one generation from an earlier one by heredity
obsolete hereditary rights

Medical definitions for inheritance

[ ĭn-hĕrĭ-təns ]


The process of genetic transmission of traits from parents to offspring.
A characteristic so inherited.
The sum of characteristics genetically transmitted from parents to offspring.

Scientific definitions for inheritance

[ ĭn-hĕrĭ-təns ]

The process by which traits or characteristics pass from parents to offspring through the genes.