Definitions

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

  • n. The state of being the first born or eldest child of the same parents.
  • n. Law The right of the eldest child, especially the eldest son, to inherit the entire estate of one or both parents.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being the firstborn of the children of the same parents.
  • n. An exclusive right of inheritance belonging to the eldest son.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of being the firstborn of the same parents; seniority by birth among children of the same family.
  • n. The exclusive right of inheritance which belongs to the eldest son. Thus in England the right of inheriting the estate of the father belongs to the eldest son, and in the royal family the eldest son of the sovereign is entitled to the throne by primogeniture. In exceptional cases, among the female children, the crown descends by right of primogeniture to the eldest daughter only and her issue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being the first-born among children of the same parents; seniority by birth.
  • n. Descent to the eldest son; the principle or right by which (under the Norman law introduced into England) the oldest son of a family succeeds to the father's real estate in preference to, and to the absolute exclusion of, the younger sons and daughters.

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

  • n. right of inheritance belongs exclusively to the eldest son

Etymologies

Late Latin prīmōgenitūra : Latin prīmō, at first (from prīmus, first; see per1 in Indo-European roots) + Latin genitūra, birth (from genitus, past participle of gignere, to beget; see genə- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Late Latin primogenitura, from Latin primus + genitura birth, from genitus, past participle of gignere (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Christ's primogeniture is threefold: (1) From eternity the "first-begotten" of the Father (Col 1: 15); (2) As the first-born of

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • I am not knocking the traditional family structure because it has it's benefits, but the idea of primogeniture is basically obsolete in today's society.

    Desiree Moodie: In Defense of The Unchaste

  • Like other European countries, Norway has inherited a medieval culture of primogeniture, that is, of handing off the family farm (or other assets) to the eldest male child.

    Dalton Conley: Much Ado About Birth Order

  • Yesterday's term was primogeniture, which is defined as:

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  • The electoral dignity had connected with it the obligation of primogeniture, that is, only the eldest son could succeed as ruler; this excluded the division of the territory among several heirs and consequently the disintegration of the country.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 13: Revelation-Stock

  • Such was the case with noble families subjected by law to the antique system of substitutions and of primogeniture, that is to say, to social constraint which, devised long ago for private as well as for public interest in order to secure the transmission of local patronage and political power.

    The Modern Regime, Volume 1

  • The decision to overturn the centuries-old tradition known as primogeniture was accompanied by the scrapping of a constitutional prohibition on the monarch's marrying a Roman Catholic.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Slide 21: Society and Politics • Conical clan organization: all social relations based, in part, on an idiom of hierarchy • Hierarchy based on primogeniture, which is basis of ranking kingroups into hereditary elite (anetï) and commoner (kamaga) ranks •

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  • Rapid change reverberates throughout a culture calling into question verities and first principles, some of which, are then made out (like "primogeniture") to be obsolete and (like "racism") to be destructive of the human spirit.

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  • The American war against nepotism began in the eighteenth century, with the abolition of English inheritance practices such as primogeniture and entail, in which the family estate was passed intact to the oldest son.

    In Praise of Nepotism

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