American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An heir whose claim can be defeated by the birth of a closer relative before the death of the ancestor.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. See heir apparent.
- n. Someone who will inherit only if no better choice for an heir is born.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. one who, if the ancestor should die immediately, would be his heir, but whose right to the inheritance may be defeated by the birth of a nearer relative, or by some other contingency.
- n. a person who expects to inherit but whose right can be defeated by the birth of a nearer relative
“Louis, Duke of Orleans, his second cousin, and heir presumptive to the throne.”
“Henry of Navarre, the heir presumptive to the throne, was a Protestant; Sixtus V had given him the choice of remaining a Protestant, and never reigning in France, or of abjuring his heresy, receiving absolution from the pope himself, and, together with it, the throne of France.”
“In international intercourse two titles gradually won general recognition, "Monsieur" as the title of the eldest brother of the King of France (if not heir presumptive) and "Monseigneur" for the Dauphin, or eldest son of the French king, who was also the crown prince, or for whatever male member of the family was recognized as heir presumptive to the throne.”
“Bismarck, however, took the ground that a marriage between the heir presumptive and the eldest daughter of the de jure Duke of Schleswig-Holstein would go a long way to reconcile the inhabitants of the above-named duchies to their annexation by Prussia, while at the same time it would constitute the reparation of an act which he himself admitted was extremely unjust, but to which he was compelled by imperative considerations of policy.”
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