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heredity Line breaks: her¦ed|ity
Pronunciation: /hɪˈrɛdɪti/

Definition of heredity in English:


[mass noun]
1The passing on of physical or mental characteristics genetically from one generation to another: the relative influence of heredity and environment
More example sentences
  • Long before we knew anything about the physical basis of heredity, factors or genes were identified in terms of their functional or phenotypic effects.
  • So, thousands of years before Gregor Mendel postulated his theories on genetics and heredity, indigenous Americans were breeding corn to select for desirable traits.
  • By the age of nineteen, in 1909, Muller had already become committed to genetics and to the chromosome theory of heredity.
congenital characteristics, congenital traits, genetics, genetic make-up, genes;
ancestry, descent, extraction, parentage
1.1A person’s ancestry: he wears a Cossack tunic to emphasize his Russian heredity
More example sentences
  • The manner in which someone ages depends almost entirely on factors relating to heredity, physical and mental health, and nutrition.
  • If the development of a certain disease is due to heredity, then genetic researchers would expect more of the identical twins to share the disease as compared to the same-sex fraternal twins.
  • No studies on the respective roles of heredity and environment on the chemotype expression were performed.
2The inheritance of a title, office, or right: a second chamber whose membership is largely based on heredity
More example sentences
  • There is no longer venality or heredity of public office.
  • Power in the Mamluk realm was not based on heredity.
  • Neither could have inherited by heredity alone, since it was not clear that a woman was allowed to succeed, and both were illegitimate under English law.


Late 18th century: from French hérédité, from Latin hereditas 'heirship', from heres, hered- 'heir'.

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