Definition of hereditary in English:

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Pronunciation: /həˈredəˌterē/


1(Of a title, office, or right) conferred by or based on inheritance: members of the ancient Polish aristocracy who had hereditary right to elect the king
More example sentences
  • The original constitution restricted the right to vote by property but outlawed hereditary titles and added trial by jury in criminal cases.
  • The passing on of property or titles is also hereditary and through the eldest male child of the family.
  • Haida Nation president Guujaaw handed the writ to Haida runners in a highly charged formal ceremony, with instructions to take their claim of hereditary title to the B.C. Supreme Court.
1.1 [attributive] (Of a person) holding a position by inheritance: I am the hereditary chief of the Piscataway people
More example sentences
  • Sometimes the head of a hereditary family of poets inaugurated the new chief of their locality by handing him a ‘rod of kingship’ - proclaiming his title aloud before the assembled people.
  • From the perspective of later developments, the Enlightened Despotism of the eighteenth century seems like a last-ditch attempt to match the personal rule of hereditary princes to the needs of the modern state.
  • The people were governed by hereditary princes called Sao-Phas who ruled in as many as forty different principalities.
1.2(Of a characteristic or disease) determined by genetic factors and therefore able to be passed on from parents to their offspring or descendants: cystic fibrosis is our most common fatal hereditary disease
More example sentences
  • They extend their speculations, even forecasting that, by genetic manipulation, they will be able to cure hereditary diseases and defects and, possibly, make a race having superior bodies and intellects.
  • At low radiation doses, the principal concern is the risk of radiation-induced cancer in exposed individuals and hereditary disease in their descendants.
  • The identification of specific genes associated with hereditary cancer risk has enabled direct diagnosis of hereditary cancer syndromes through genetic analysis.
genetic, congenital, inborn, inherited, inbred, innate;
in the family, in the blood, in the genes
1.3Relating to inheritance: a form of hereditary succession and dynastic rule became standard practice
More example sentences
  • In principle, hereditary succession is rejected by the juristic tradition.
  • But acclamation did not rule out the possibility of hereditary or even dynastic successions.
  • The position was now ‘very different from 1999’ and the time had come to get rid of the hereditary principle, he replied.
bequeathed, willed, handed-down, passed-down, passed-on, transferred;
ancestral, family, familial
1.4 Mathematics (Of a set) defined such that every element that has a given relation to a member of the set is also a member of the set.
Example sentences
  • One of the chief stumbling blocks in such a task is the fact that the notion of derivative is a hereditary property for analytic functions while this is clearly not the case for solutions of general second order elliptic equations.



Pronunciation: /həˌredəˈterəlē/
Example sentences
  • If an hereditarily deaf person deliberately chooses to marry another such, they are likely to have deaf children and no one outside Nazi Germany would dream of trying to prevent them.
  • And migraine is a disease that just is more prevalent hereditarily in women.
  • De Lacy remarks that the Tyranny lasted so long because the English, hereditarily obsessed with money, tolerate outrageous corruption and arbitrary rule so long as their commercial activities are permitted.


Pronunciation: /həˌredəˈterinəs/
Example sentences
  • The natural conservatism of such people because of hereditariness can provide a useful brake.
  • Known risk factors include age, gender, hereditariness, smoking, hypertension and high blood lipid levels.
  • The twin research will make it possible to study hereditariness and the effects of the environment.


Late Middle English: from Latin hereditarius, from hereditas (see heredity).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: he·red·i·tar·y

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