Definition of legacy in English:



  • 1An amount of money or property left to someone in a will.

    ‘my grandmother died and unexpectedly left me a small legacy’
    • ‘Funding comes from campaigns, bequests, legacies and the continuing generosity of Cantabrians.’
    • ‘Bentham tells the family that they are about to inherit a legacy from a relative.’
    • ‘They have income from legacies or property sales, and they will take in a lot from collections.’
    • ‘This would generate 4,000 per year, to which would be added other gifts and legacies.’
    • ‘The 8th shows gain from dowries, unexpected inheritances and legacies.’
    • ‘From charity legacies to endowment shortfalls, John Husband answers your financial queries’
    • ‘Most charities would claim that around 30 per cent of their income comes from the legacies - gifts - left by people in their will.’
    • ‘However the opportunities to grant bequests, or to leave legacies and gifts are pre-empted.’
    • ‘Many of the large charities rely on legacies, which can cut inheritance tax bills.’
    • ‘Friends chairman David Meal said the cots had been bought with money from legacies, donations, and a very successful collection in December at Tesco at Askham Bar.’
    • ‘Partnerships will bring you wealth and success and you may inherit a legacy.’
    • ‘The minster has always been funded by generous gifts and legacies.’
    • ‘Bad inheritance planning can mean your legacy is eaten up by probate taxes, solicitor's fees and charges.’
    • ‘Outline the division of your estate giving details of cash legacies to friends or charities, bequests of specific property.’
    bequest, inheritance, heritage, bequeathal, bestowal, benefaction, endowment, gift, patrimony, heirloom, settlement, birthright, provision
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    1. 1.1Something left or handed down by a predecessor.
      ‘the legacy of centuries of neglect’
      • ‘It is clear that the traits William has inherited from his mother are also reinforced from a legacy on his father's side too.’
      • ‘The modern consensus view is to judge the legacies of empire, especially of the modern European empires, very harshly.’
      • ‘Paradoxically her legacy was to remove any parental role in the provision of contraception for young people.’
      • ‘All of those things are lasting legacies and testaments to the man's hockey career.’
      • ‘If chimps and humans are both violent, they are likely to share a genetic legacy for violence with this ancestor.’
      • ‘The original was cool, but this one tries with unsuccessful results to live up to the legacy of its predecessor.’
      • ‘The war bestowed two valuable legacies on women.’
      • ‘The real issue here is not public dental services, but flawed national health policy, and its legacy.’
      • ‘Its roots go back to colonial history and it is a legacy of European colonialism and modernity.’
      • ‘One of the legacies of these practices is the impact on the property market in the target areas.’
      • ‘Nicholson created something extraordinary but the custodians of the club have not done justice to his legacy.’
      • ‘And at this stage of his career, Oscar is looking for more than money: he's got his eye on his legacy.’
      • ‘Cemetery managers, like parishes, have inherited an unenviable legacy from past generations.’
      • ‘Many have commented on how the lasting divisions on the sub-continent are partly a legacy of British colonialism.’
      • ‘Groups in Scotland that have long campaigned to address the asbestos legacy have welcomed the legislation.’
      • ‘One of the major themes of the book is the ongoing legacy of colonialism.’
      • ‘Some turned to alcohol or drugs to cope with their legacies of violence and shame.’
      • ‘I guess that he might have preferred more substantial legacies than these, but maybe they'll do just fine.’
      • ‘And their legacies continue to cause newcomers to pause before embarking down similar routes.’
      • ‘The legacies of Prohibition were an increased level of alcohol consumption and flourishing organised crime.’
      consequence, effect, outcome, upshot, spin-off, repercussion, aftermath, footprint, by-product, product, result
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  • Denoting or relating to software or hardware that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.

    • ‘Then new projects that could have gone with the legacy platform start going to the new one.’
    • ‘The legacy server may reside on a different machine and is the third tier in our architecture.’
    • ‘Integration with legacy systems has been cited as a problem by over half of respondents.’
    • ‘None of these legacy ports are able to handle the high bandwidth peripherals of today.’
    • ‘This meant that legacy applications would not be supported if companies moved to updated versions.’


Late Middle English (also denoting the function or office of a deputy, especially a papal legate): from Old French legacie, from medieval Latin legatia legateship, from legatus person delegated (see legate).