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

  • n. An inheritance from a father or other ancestor.
  • n. An inheritance or legacy; heritage.
  • n. An endowment or estate belonging to an institution, especially a church.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A right or estate inherited from one's father; or, in a larger sense, from any ancestor.
  • n. Formerly, a church estate or endowment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A right or estate inherited from one's father; or, in a larger sense, from any ancestor.
  • n. Formerly, a church estate or endowment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A right or an estate inherited from one's ancestors; property falling to a person on the death of his father; heritage.
  • n. A church estate or revenue; the endowment of a church or religious house.

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

  • n. an inheritance coming by right of birth (especially by primogeniture)
  • n. a church endowment


Middle English, from Old French patrimoine, from Latin patrimōnium, from pater, patr-, father.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in 1513. From patrimoyne, from patremoyne, from Middle French patrimoine/patremoine, from Latin patrimōnium, from pater ("father") + -mōnium ("state, condition"). (Wiktionary)


  • To tell these young readers that such poets are part of their "patrimony" is only another way of saying they should read poetry because it's good for them, a strategy that will only make it certain they'll never want to read a line of verse ever again.

    Literary Study

  • Nothing less than Mexico's cultural patrimony is at stake.

    Out of the past, speaking volumes

  • The wording of Mary's patent letters indicates that the proper context for assessing the origin and significance of her patrimony is in the unique political situation taking shape in the days immediately following Henry VIII's death.

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

  • "Ninety-five percent of the people of the world have - they use the word patrimony in conversation, and it's a very emotionally charged word," Edsel observed. Stories

  • As for oil -- or what President Bush referred to, on the rare occasion when he mentioned it, as Iraq's "patrimony" -- mum was the word, even though that country had the world's third largest proven petroleum reserves and sat strategically at the heart of the energy heartlands of the planet.

    Tom Engelhardt: Biking Out of Iraq

  • "Property" is vague, and Machiavelli in other chapters more often referred to "patrimony," meaning one's rightful inheritance.

    Nicholas Carroll: Occupy Wall Street as Seen Through Machiavelli's Lens

  • The popes, in temporizing, gained more than the emperors in exerting their authority; and in time these Cæsars became so weak that the popes finally obtained the succession of Mathilda, which is now called the patrimony of St. Peter.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • "Yes he is, you saw that awful scene with his father - his patrimony is a horse - Lizzie, you cannot do this!"

    A Place Called Freedom

  • Even before the Conquest the bishops held large endowments of land known as the patrimony of St. Cuthbert, Terra or

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 5: Diocese-Fathers of Mercy

  • Their patrimony was a small one -- the provinces of the Isle de France,

    The Story of Paris


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  • an estate inherited from one's father or ancestor

    September 4, 2010