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

  • transitive v. To receive (property or a title, for example) from an ancestor by legal succession or will.
  • transitive v. To receive by bequest or as a legacy.
  • transitive v. To receive or take over from a predecessor: The new administration inherited the economic problems of the last four years.
  • transitive v. Biology To receive (a characteristic) from one's parents by genetic transmission.
  • transitive v. To gain (something) as one's right or portion.
  • intransitive v. To hold or take possession of an inheritance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To take possession of as a right (especially in Biblical translations).
  • v. To receive (property or a title etc), by legal succession or bequest after the previous owner's death.
  • v. (biology) To receive a characteristic from one's ancestors by genetic transmission.
  • v. To derive from people or conditions previously in force.
  • v. to come into an inheritance.
  • v. To derive (existing functionality) from a superclass.
  • v. To derive a new class from (a superclass).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To take or hold a possession, property, estate, or rights by inheritance.
  • transitive v. To take by descent from an ancestor; to take by inheritance; to take as heir on the death of an ancestor or other person to whose estate one succeeds; to receive as a right or title descendible by law from an ancestor at his decease
  • transitive v. To receive or take by birth; to have by nature; to derive or acquire from ancestors, as mental or physical qualities, genes, or genetic traits
  • transitive v. To come into possession of; to possess; to own; to enjoy as a possession.
  • transitive v. To put in possession of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In law, to take by descent from an ancestor; get by succession, as the representative of the former possessor; receive as a right or title descendible by law from an ancestor at his decease: as, the eldest son of a nobleman inherits his father's title.
  • To receive from one's progenitors as part of one's physical or mental constitution; possess intrinsically through descent.
  • To receive by transmission in any way; have imparted to or conferred upon; acquire from any source.
  • To succeed by inheritance.
  • To put in possession; seize: with of.
  • To be vested with a right to a thing (specifically to real property) by operation of law, as successor in interest on the death of the former owner; have succession as heir: sometimes with to.

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

  • v. receive from a predecessor
  • v. obtain from someone after their death
  • v. receive by genetic transmission


Middle English enheriten, from Old French enheriter, to make heir to, from Late Latin inhērēditāre, to inherit : Latin in-, in; see in-2 + Late Latin hērēditāre, to inherit (from Latin hērēs, hērēd-, heir; see ghē- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French enheriter, from Late Latin inhereditare ("make heir"). (Wiktionary)


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