Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of giving, leaving by will, or passing on to another.
  • n. Something that is bequeathed; a legacy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of bequeathing or leaving by will.
  • n. The transfer of property upon the owner's death according to the will of the deceased.
  • n. That which is left by will; a legacy.
  • n. That which has been handed down or transmitted.
  • n. A person's inheritance; an amount of property given by will.
  • v. To give as a bequest; bequeath.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of bequeathing or leaving by will.
  • n. That which is left by will, esp. personal property; a legacy; also, a gift.
  • transitive v. To bequeath, or leave as a legacy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give as a bequest; bequeath.
  • n. The act of bequeathing or leaving by will.
  • n. That which is left by will; a legacy.
  • n. That which is or has been handed down or transmitted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (law) a gift of personal property by will

Etymologies

Middle English biquest (influenced by biquethen, to bequeath) : bi-, be- + quist, will (from Old English -cwis, as in andcwis, answer; see gwet- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English bequeste ("will, testament, bequest"), from be- + queste ("saying, utterance"), from Old English *cwist, *cwiss, from Proto-Germanic *kwissiz (“saying”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷet- (“to say”). Related to Old English andcwiss ("answer, reply"), Old English uncwisse ("dumb, mute"), Middle English bequethen ("bequeath"). More at quoth, bequeath. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Looking at my own situation, if I die early and leave a large bequest "by mistake," that will come when my children still need it, whereas if I live longer and the bequest is diminished, that will be after my children have had time to establish themselves.

    Defending Social Security, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • In 1936, a bequest from the estates of Maud Walker-Ames and Edwin Gardner Ames established a fund that the university uses to

    Sound Politics: Walker-Ames and Danz Lectures At The UW

  • Joseph Henry stated in his first annual report in 1847 in considering the role of the Institution in formally accepting the bequest of James Smithson: The bequest is for the benefit of mankind.

    Boing Boing: April 16, 2006 - April 22, 2006 Archives

  • Procopius, who, alleging as his title a bequest of the Emperor

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Tournely-Zwirner

  • Library, London, was established by a bequest from the dissenting minister,

    Letter 279

  • Highlights also include the famous 1906 portrait of Gertrude Stein, which was a bequest from the American writer in 1946 and the Met's first Picasso acquisition.

    phillyBurbs.com: Home RSS feed

  • Not only would this hurt Sino-Norwegian relations, Mr. Lundestad was told, it would also run contrary to the spirit of Alfred Nobel's bequest, which is supposed to promote fraternity between nations.

    Nobel Arm-Twisting

  • It is also important to consider the value of leaving an undamaged world to future generations, something which economists identify as bequest value.

    Microeconomics and the environment

  • [1] Dr Williams’s library, London, which was established by a bequest from the dissenting minister, Daniel Williams (c. 1643 – 1716; DNB).

    Letter 278

  • [1] Southey was making use of Dr Williams’s library, London, which had been established by a bequest from the dissenting minister, Daniel Williams (c.

    Letter 280

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