Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person who inherits or is entitled by law or by the terms of a will to inherit the estate of another.
  • noun A person who succeeds or is in line to succeed to a hereditary rank, title, or office.
  • noun One who receives or is expected to receive a heritage, as of ideas, from a predecessor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To inherit; succeed to.
  • noun children and lawful descendants;
  • noun parents and lawful ascendants;
  • noun collateral kindred.
  • noun One who inherits, or has a right of inheritance in, the property of another; one who receives, or is entitled to receive, possession of property or a vested right on the death of its owner, either as his natural or as his legal successor.
  • noun Technically, in law, the person upon whom the law casts an estate in real property immediately on the death of the ancestor, as distinguished from one who takes by will as a legatee or devisee, and from one who succeeds by law to personal property as next of kin. The same person who is heir when considered with reference to realty is often also next of kin when considered with reference to personalty: and where a testator's will disposes of part only of his realty, the same person who takes under the will as devisee may also take an undisposed-of part as heir. In this sense the word as used at common law does not include a widow on whom the law casts an estate in dower, or a husband on whom the law casts an estate by the courtesy, for these are considered new estates, arising out of marriage and its incidents, and carved out of the fee, not as a continuation or devolution of the fee itself. If there be dower or courtesy, the heir is that person who takes immediate title to the fee, subject to such life-estate. In legal phrase heir and heir at law are commonly used in England in the singular, because the general rule of descent there has given the entire estate to the eldest male. The singular is also not uncommonly used in the United States to designate whoever may be entitled, whether one or more, because of English usage, and because appropriate in all cases where there is but one standing in the nearest degree to the deceased.
  • noun In a broader sense, in those jurisdictions where the distinction between realty and personalty is disregarded, the person entitled by law to succeed one dying in respect of either kind of property, as distinguished from those taking by will. In jurisdictions where the distinction is preserved, a testamentary gift of personalty, expressed to be to one's heirs, is commonly understood to intend his next of kin.
  • noun In another extended sense, one in a series of heirs; any successive inheritor, including not only him who takes immediately upon the death of the ancestor, but also those who have inherited through several successive descents, In the most general sense, the person upon whom property of any kind devolves on the death of another, either by law or by will. Thus, the children of a person deceased are popularly spoken of as his heirs, irrespective of the nature of the property or the mode in which it passed. In much this sense heres was used in the Roman law.
  • noun One who inherits anything; one who receives any endowment by inheritance or transmission.
  • noun A child regarded with reference to anything due to his parentage; an offspring in general.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb rare To inherit; to succeed to.
  • noun One who inherits, or is entitled to succeed to the possession of, any property after the death of its owner; one on whom the law bestows the title or property of another at the death of the latter.
  • noun One who receives any endowment from an ancestor or relation.
  • noun (Law.) See under Apparent.
  • noun one who, after his ancector's death, has a right to inherit all his intestate estate.
  • noun 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Someone who inherits, or is designated to inherit, the property of another (Wikipedia).
  • noun One who inherits, or has been designated to inherit, a hereditary title or office.
  • noun A successor in a role, representing continuity with the predecessor.

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

  • noun a person who inherits some title or office
  • noun a person who is entitled by law or by the terms of a will to inherit the estate of another

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin hērēs; see ghē- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English heres, from Old French eir, heir, from Latin hēres (genitive hēredis).

Examples

  • I. ii.58 (10,7) [and thy father Was duke of Milan, thou his only heir] Perhaps -- _and_ thou _his only heir_.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies

  • He had issue by the said Joan two sods, John his heir and Adam; besides a daughter Sarah, wedded to Roger de Carswell) and was suc - ceeded by John his son and heir*

    Collins's peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, and historical

  • Dotar Sojat: Well, RPT, they each came out of a public university med school about $150K or so down, got paid peanuts for their internship and residencies, started actually earning money in heir mid thirties, worked hard in private practice, paid it all off, and lived wisely.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Just Wondering

  • Well, RPT, they each came out of a public university med school about $150K or so down, got paid peanuts for their internship and residencies, started actually earning money in heir mid thirties, worked hard in private practice, paid it all off, and lived wisely.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Just Wondering

  • From the death of Henry VIII, when Mary was once again heir to the throne and mistress of her own independent establishment, her Privy Chamber recruited staff mainly from gentry families who were associated with regions near her estates.

    From Heads of Household to Heads of State: The Preaccession Households of Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, 1516-1558

  • For the stupid person up there that wrote "the failure of 08 begins" I can tell you that's exactly the opposite: "the recover 08 begins", no more Bush mistakes and his heir is going to be defeated big time, is going to be a victory by a huge margin!!!

    Obama: The general election fight should start next week

  • For the stupid person up there that wrote "the failure of 08 begins" I can tell you that's exactly the opposite: "the recover 08 begins", no more Bush mistakes and his heir is going to be defeated big time, is going to be a victory by a huge margin!!!

    Obama: The general election fight should start next week

  • For the word heir does not of itself imply the children or nearest kindred of a man; but whomsoever a man shall any way declare he would have to succeed him in his estate.

    Leviathan

  • (That Cronkite has no heir is one proof that consensus TV is as dead as the dodo; that David Letterman and Jay Leno now split the legacy of sardonic Johnny and gee-whiz Johnny between them is another.)

    The Murdoch Touch

  • (That Cronkite has no heir is one proof that consensus TV is as dead as the dodo; that David Letterman and Jay Leno now split the legacy of sardonic Johnny and gee-whiz Johnny between them is another.)

    The Murdoch Touch

Comments

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  • homophone with air

    April 30, 2010