Definition of heirloom in English:

heirloom

noun

  • 1A valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.

    ‘the violin was a family heirloom’
    • ‘Scores of people lost sentimental engagement rings and irreplaceable family heirlooms.’
    • ‘My grandmother would let me play around in her kitchen with our family heirloom civil war sword.’
    • ‘The situation hasn't quite reached the stage where pre-bookings are handed down through the generations like family heirlooms, but getting a pitch at peak times is difficult.’
    • ‘If you look after your tools, they'll look after you and maybe some day, you can pass them down to the next generation of enthusiastic gardeners like family heirlooms.’
    • ‘Some include journal entries or family heirlooms such as recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation.’
    • ‘Their affair is going nowhere until he asks her to restore a family heirloom that may contain the key to a centuries-old murder mystery.’
    • ‘Although not hugely valuable, they were both treasured family heirlooms.’
    • ‘She looked around the room slowly, her eyes taking in everything from the expensive paintings and family heirlooms dotted around the room, to the Oriental rug.’
    • ‘The interior contains a remarkable collection of family heirlooms and works of art.’
    • ‘Hundreds of Essex residents queued from early today to have their family heirlooms identified and valued by a team of TV experts.’
    • ‘These precious ornaments are often passed down through the generations as family heirlooms.’
    • ‘His house had been burgled, windows smashed, doors broken and family heirlooms stolen.’
    • ‘He later discovered two travelling clocks and a signet ring, family heirlooms worth £700 and £200 in cash were missing.’
    • ‘It is filled with antiques, family heirlooms and portraits.’
    • ‘There are others who have suggested he sell off the valuable collection of art and other family heirlooms, but he doubts they would raise the required amount.’
    • ‘They will happily cast their eye over any old family heirlooms, household treasures or car boot bargains.’
    • ‘Archival records such as these family heirlooms, handed down from one generation to another, stand as evidence of a rich past that has impact for everyone.’
    • ‘The sword was a family heirloom, passed down through the generations to the eldest child.’
    • ‘No doubt this book will become a treasured heirloom in the Murphy family.’
    • ‘I have been forced to sell family heirlooms like our vintage cars.’
    bequest, inheritance, heritage, bequeathal, bestowal, benefaction, endowment, gift, patrimony, settlement, birthright, provision
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    1. 1.1North American as modifier Denoting a traditional variety of plant or breed of animal which is not associated with large-scale commercial agriculture.
      ‘his garden is filled with heirloom vegetables’
      ‘free-range heirloom pork’
      • ‘One of the biggest trends over the last 20 years has been the rediscovery of heirloom plants, both ornamental and edible.’
      • ‘The company offers more than 600 varieties of organically grown, mostly heirloom seeds for gardeners and more than 100 types of seeds in bulk amounts for farmers.’
      • ‘There's been a reawakening of interest in heirloom melons among home gardeners.’
      • ‘Heirloom tomatoes are making a comeback in farmers' markets and natural food stores as people rediscover how good a real tomato tastes.’
      • ‘She plants heirloom varieties whenever possible - they adapt better to the challenges of climate than hybrids.’
      • ‘Nearby is the kitchen garden with its heirloom vegetables, as well as the formal Victorian gardens and tennis court.’
      • ‘Preserving heirloom vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers keeps the world's available genetic diversity alive.’
      • ‘At the KJ wine center, there are four acres of organic gardens where we grow 175 different kinds of heirloom tomatoes.’
      • ‘On their farm in Carmel Valley, Jon and Nancy embrace the seasons and grow unusual and heirloom vegetables.’
      • ‘You must order a few sides, including the farm-fresh pickled veggies and roasted heirloom carrots.’
      • ‘Growing heirloom seeds can be an adventure since they don't always produce uniform, picture-perfect results.’
      • ‘I plant heirloom vegetables in my garden because I'm partial to the complex flavors of such things as black tomatoes, purple carrots and candy-striped beets.’
      • ‘Every year I visit apple orchards in one or the other region and taste as many heirloom varieties as I can.’
      • ‘In spring of 1988, I planted 100 blueberry bushes, 24 heirloom apple trees and 500 raspberry plants.’
      • ‘I have a friend who grows Italian heirloom vegetables as a link to his Italian ancestry.’
      • ‘He is dedicated to organic growing principles and supplying gardeners with great heirloom vegetable varieties.’
      • ‘Many old garden roses, or heirloom roses, bloom only once a season.’
      • ‘Many heirloom varieties are the great-grandparent plants of modern cultivars.’
      • ‘There are many good reasons to incorporate more heirloom varieties into your gardening.’
      • ‘Pollen from genetically altered crops can spread to heirloom crops, threatening their biological integrity.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from heir + loom (which formerly had the senses ‘tool, heirloom’).

Pronunciation

heirloom

/ˈɛːluːm/