Definition of inherit in English:



  • 1with object Receive (money, property, or a title) as an heir at the death of the previous holder.

    ‘she inherited a fortune from her father’
    • ‘The property was initially inherited by the deceased's sister, the only known relative entitled to the inheritance at the time.’
    • ‘Before inheriting the title on the death of his father he had been left Field House, Flaxton, its 400 acres, and some tenanted farmsteads by an aunt.’
    • ‘When a person dies without a will, Texas statutes determine who inherits that person's property.’
    • ‘You can get rich in several ways: by winning a lottery, marrying into money, inheriting wealth, suing, or careful scrimping and saving over a lifetime.’
    • ‘Furthermore, people who inherit such money can also be made liable for tax due.’
    • ‘In order to inherit money from his aunt he has to marry within a month.’
    • ‘It was my father's intention that he should not, however inherit the property until he was 21 years old.’
    • ‘Often properties are inherited by several heirs.’
    • ‘Those are people who inherited large sums of money, won the lottery, or sold their Internet businesses for billions of dollars.’
    • ‘This may not be a popular point of view but why should we be able to inherit large sums of money for which we have made no contribution.’
    • ‘This debt is then gifted to a second trust, which ensures your children inherit the property on your death.’
    • ‘All other property is inherited equally among all heirs from both parents.’
    • ‘The wife keeps her mother's last name, children keep the mother's last name and the youngest daughter inherits the family property.’
    • ‘This allows you to decide exactly which people will inherit any money, property or other assets when you die.’
    • ‘Among Bullock County residents, owning a fine bird dog could build a man's reputation almost as quickly as inheriting large sums of money or land.’
    • ‘She has inherited a property from her grandparents and wishes to move into that home with her children.’
    • ‘Depending on who inherits the money after your death, there may be income or inheritance tax to be paid on the proceeds.’
    • ‘After the war, women increasingly inherited real property and served as executors of men's estates.’
    • ‘Her property would be inherited by her children who would be members of the new family.’
    • ‘He knew that once Reginald died and Miranda inherited his money and estate, they would be together again.’
    become heir to, fall heir to, come by, come into, be bequeathed, be left, be willed
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  • 2Derive (a quality, characteristic, or predisposition) genetically from one's parents or ancestors.

    ‘inherited diseases’
    • ‘Collins said that disease is not genetically inherited but develops in each patient.’
    • ‘To a large degree the body's size, in terms of height and weight, reach of the arms and length of stride, derives from information in the DNA of the chromosomes, inherited from our parents at conception.’
    • ‘Whichever of the parts drawn from the relevant organ of the parents predominates in the new mixture determines which characteristics are inherited by the offspring.’
    • ‘Although cancer cannot be inherited from parent to child, genetic factors do have an effect.’
    • ‘In this disease, which occurs when a child inherits from both parents a particular mutation in a single gene, bone marrow fails to produce enough blood components.’
    • ‘It's a blood disease that is genetically inherited, which explains his chronic fatigue, muscle aches, and abdominal pain.’
    • ‘In these diseases, a single mutant copy of a gene inherited from either parent dominates the normal gene by producing a protein that is toxic to cells.’
    • ‘Children who develop asthma have inherited a genetic predisposition to have the disease.’
    • ‘Sickle cell disease is a blood disease that children inherit from their parents.’
    • ‘As a result, most inhabitants share common ancestors and have inherited many of the same genetic traits.’
    • ‘The scientists examined nine genetic areas inherited from both parents.’
    • ‘It states that evolution occurs because organisms can inherit traits that were acquired by their ancestors during their ancestors' lifetimes.’
    • ‘Your genes (the characteristics you inherit from your parents) determine the potential height and strength of your skeleton.’
    • ‘For a number of genes, the allele inherited from one parent is inactivated, so that the expression of an allele depends on having been paternally or maternally transmitted.’
    • ‘The other set of markers will identify the normal chromosome inherited from the normal parent.’
    • ‘This gives the basis for following genetically inherited traits, ranging from predisposition to certain diseases to conformation characteristics.’
    • ‘However, scientists feel that a set of predisposing genes inherited from one's parents is likely to be required.’
    • ‘The genetic make-up of an individual is inherited from parent to offspring and underpins certain characters or traits.’
    • ‘This would have been true whether or not these children had inherited their parents' metabolic type, but especially true if they had.’
    • ‘First, this explanation requires a bias among researchers in selecting for combinations of traits inherited from the same ancestral species.’
  • 3Receive or be left with (a situation, object, etc.) from a predecessor or former owner.

    ‘spending commitments inherited from previous governments’
    • ‘In the Lebanon, his bodyguard-driven, old Mercedes had bullet holes down one side inherited from a previous owner (the prime minister).’
    • ‘She initially increased the audience inherited from her predecessor, but that has now plummeted since the highs of more than seven million.’
    • ‘In our twice-yearly updates of these charts, we will be measuring how well the new mayor succeeds in improving the fortunes of the city he inherited from his predecessor.’
    • ‘Are your lawmakers for upholding the law, or for continuing to break it by staying with the situation which they inherited?’
    • ‘In 1917, the Bolsheviks inherited a health situation from imperial Russia that was appalling.’
    • ‘It's no use the Labour Government saying that they inherited this situation from the Conservatives.’
    • ‘The Harbour Commissioners inherited a situation which for the moment was stable, but deteriorating.’
    • ‘Putin was saddled with social commitments and expectations inherited from Soviet days that were wildly beyond his means to meet.’
    • ‘Or, perhaps, the Thames Valley Police inherited the unsolved case file from the Berkshire Constabulary, when it became part of their force.’
    • ‘The bad news is that the current government is constrained by the circumstances it inherited from the previous administration, he continued.’
    • ‘He says the budget inherited from the previous administration and gross underestimation of the cost of services, including refuse collection, are to blame.’
    • ‘So Labour inherited that situation, but we asked what would happen in a case of someone who has offended against a victim, but who has been rightly punished by society.’
    • ‘Was this due to the financial situation inherited from the administration before them?’
    • ‘At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe inherited a situation where a small minority of whites owned most of the country's best farmland.’
    • ‘The leader may inherit a situation for which moral authority cannot produce obedience or may be too far removed to exercise it.’
    • ‘But I do also know that he inherited a fiscal situation where he had a $250 billion surplus.’
    • ‘When we came to power we inherited a situation where too many of our children were being taught in out-dated and often crumbling buildings.’
    • ‘We appreciate that she has inherited a bad situation that was made worse by her predecessor.’
    • ‘Louis XIII inherited a difficult situation with regards to religion.’
    • ‘We all have aspects that we don't much like: either inherited from the previous owner, or mistakes that we have made ourselves.’
    succeed to, accede to, assume, take over, come into
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    1. 3.1North American Come into possession of (belongings) from someone else.
      ‘she inherits all her clothes from her older sisters’
      • ‘I'm not against buying second hand clothes, nor inheriting from other people.’
      • ‘Our son even inherited Thomas' outgrown clothes.’
    2. 3.2archaic Come into possession of (something) as a right (especially in biblical translations and allusions)
      ‘master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
      • ‘A rich young man once asked Jesus, ‘Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’’
      • ‘In Matthew 25:36, Jesus says of those inheriting the kingdom of God, ‘I was in prison and you visited me.’’
      • ‘The promise went to Abraham's singular seed, Christ, but other people can be incorporated into Christ and thus inherit the biblical promises to Abraham.’
      • ‘This ‘other’ God allowed his only Son to die for us so that we might accept him in faith and love and inherit the gift of eternal life.’
      • ‘The Lord would have us know that many are called to inherit eternal life, but few are chosen by virtue of believing in Christ.’


Middle English enherite ‘receive as a right’, from Old French enheriter, from late Latin inhereditare ‘appoint as heir’, from Latin in- ‘in’ + heres, hered- ‘heir’.