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

  • n. Money or property bequeathed to another by will.
  • n. Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past: a legacy of religious freedom. See Synonyms at heritage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. money or property bequeathed to someone in a will
  • n. Something inherited from a predecessor; a heritage
  • n. The descendant of an alumnus
  • adj. of a computer system that has been in service for many years and that a business still relies upon, even though it is becoming expensive or difficult to maintain
  • adj. left behind; old or no longer in active use

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A gift of property by will, esp. of money or personal property; a bequest. Also Fig..
  • n. A business with which one is intrusted by another; a commission; -- obsolete, except in the phrases last legacy, dying legacy, and the like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bequeath; assign as a legacy.
  • To leave a legacy to.
  • n. Money or other property left by will; a bequest; specifically, a gift of personalty by will as distinguished from a devise or gift of realty.
  • n. Anything bequeathed or handed down by an ancestor or a predecessor.
  • n. A business which one has received from another to execute; a commission; an errand.
  • n. Legation; embassy.

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

  • n. (law) a gift of personal property by will


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

Middle English legacie, office of a deputy, from Old French, from Medieval Latin lēgātia, from Latin lēgātus, past participle of lēgāre, to depute, bequeath; see leg- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French legacie, from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin lēgātum, participle of lēgō.



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  • "Word sleuths advise me that 'legacy' derives from an ancient Indo-Aryan root meaning 'it wasn't my fault, and I should still get a bonus this year even though we lost billions of dollars.'"

    -- The Peril Of Financial Linguistics, Newsweek, online March 28, 2009

    March 31, 2009