from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A valued possession passed down in a family through succeeding generations.
- n. An article of personal property included in an inherited estate.
- n. A cultivar of a vegetable or fruit that is open-pollinated and is not grown widely for commercial purposes. An heirloom often exhibits a distinctive characteristic such as superior flavor or unusual coloration.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A valued possession that has been passed down through the generations.
- n. A crop variety that has been passed down through generations of farmers by seed saving and cultivation.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Any furniture, movable, or personal chattel, which by law or special custom descends to the heir along with the inheritance; any piece of personal property that has been in a family for several generations.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In English law, a personal chattel that, contrary to the nature of chattels, by special custom descends to an heir with the inheritance, being such a thing as cannot be separated from the estate without injury to it, as jewels of the crown, charters, deeds, and the like. The term is sometimes loosely applied to personal property left by will or settled so as to descend like an heirloom proper; such property is distinctively called an heirloom by devise or a quasi-heirloom.
- n. Hence Any personal possession that passes from generation to generation in a family or a community; any article or characteristic transmitted by ancestors.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. something that has been in a family for generations
- n. (law) any property that is considered by law or custom as inseparable from an inheritance is inherited with that inheritance
Middle English heirlome : heir, heir; see heir + lome, implement; see loom2.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English heirlome ("heirloom", literally "a tool or article passed to one's heirs"), equivalent to heir + loom. (Wiktionary)