Definition of inherit in English:


Line breaks: in|herit
Pronunciation: /ɪnˈhɛrɪt

verb (inherits, inheriting, inherited)

  • 1 [with object] Receive (money, property, or a title) as an heir at the death of the previous holder: she inherited a fortune from her father
    More example sentences
    • Often properties are inherited by several heirs.
    • All other property is inherited equally among all heirs from both parents.
    • This allows you to decide exactly which people will inherit any money, property or other assets when you die.
    become heir to, fall heir to, come into/by, be bequeathed, be left, be willed; Law be devised
  • 2Derive (a quality, characteristic, or predisposition) genetically from one’s parents or ancestors: (as adjective inherited) inherited diseases
    More example sentences
    • This gives the basis for following genetically inherited traits, ranging from predisposition to certain diseases to conformation characteristics.
    • Children who develop asthma have inherited a genetic predisposition to have the disease.
    • The scientists examined nine genetic areas inherited from both parents.
  • 3Receive or be left with (a situation, object, etc.) from a predecessor or former owner: spending commitments inherited from previous governments
    More example sentences
    • We appreciate that she has inherited a bad situation that was made worse by her predecessor.
    • Was this due to the financial situation inherited from the administration before them?
    • We all have aspects that we don't much like: either inherited from the previous owner, or mistakes that we have made ourselves.
    succeed to, accede to, assume, take over, come into; be elevated to, have conferred on one
  • 3.1North American Come into possession of (belongings) from someone else: she inherits all her clothes from her older sisters
    More example sentences
    • I'm not against buying second hand clothes, nor inheriting from other people.
    • Our son even inherited Thomas' outgrown clothes.
  • 3.2 archaic Come into possession of (something) as a right (especially in biblical translations and allusions): master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?
    More example sentences
    • The promise went to Abraham's singular seed, Christ, but other people can be incorporated into Christ and thus inherit the biblical promises to Abraham.
    • This ‘other’ God allowed his only Son to die for us so that we might accept him in faith and love and inherit the gift of eternal life.
    • In Matthew 25:36, Jesus says of those inheriting the kingdom of God, ‘I was in prison and you visited me.’


Middle English enherite 'receive as a right', from Old French enheriter, from late Latin inhereditare 'appoint as heir', from Latin in- 'in' + heres, hered- 'heir'.

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