Definition of heir in English:



  • 1A person legally entitled to the property or rank of another on that person's death.

    ‘his eldest son and heir’
    ‘she aspired to marry the heir to the throne’
    • ‘Naturally he would be expected to go, as he was not only a prince and a strong fighter, but the heir to the throne as well.’
    • ‘These responsibilities of the heir under customary law had indeed been enforced by courts.’
    • ‘Her health and good looks may have secured her marriage to the heir to the Danish throne, but they would not secure her happiness.’
    • ‘What everybody forgot was that, with no Empress or heirs to the throne, there was a distinct power void.’
    • ‘I mourn for the loss of my beloved wife, but I rejoice over the birth of my son and heir to my throne.’
    • ‘In fact, his son and heir Prince William has been here only once, as a baby.’
    • ‘Mary went to live at the French court and at the age of fifteen married Francis, heir to the French throne.’
    • ‘I think it is instead to protect their property and the property of their heirs.’
    • ‘But civil disobedience is a different prospect for the heir to the throne than for others.’
    • ‘Should the Tudor line die out, there would be a Stewart heir to the English throne.’
    • ‘Factions formed around the heir to the throne and other members of the royal family as well as in the entourage of ministers.’
    • ‘The seeming acceptance by the Royal Family of the heir to the throne's new wife has also been of major importance.’
    • ‘I was their prince, their heir to the throne, and all they had heard of me was from rumours.’
    • ‘She has been the princess, the heir, the future queen, before and she knows what it is like.’
    • ‘It is increasingly common for the rich to understate the value of gifts in order to avoid paying taxes on property passed on to heirs.’
    • ‘Upon the death of his father Frederick in 1751, George succeeded as prince of Wales and heir to the throne.’
    • ‘There the court held that the imposition of ‘fines’ on the heirs of a deceased was criminal in nature.’
    • ‘He was looking for a bride, and for someone who could provide a future heir to the throne.’
    • ‘The savings plans are supposed to be tax-free, yet your heirs will still face death duties.’
    • ‘Prince William is playing the part of the young heir to the throne to a tee.’
    successor, heiress, next in line, inheritor, heir apparent, heir presumptive, heir-at-law, descendant, beneficiary, legatee, scion
    devisee, grantee, parcener, coparcener
    successor, next in line, inheritor, heir apparent, heir presumptive, heir-at-law, descendant, beneficiary, legatee, scion
    devisee, grantee, parcener, coparcener
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person inheriting and continuing the legacy of a predecessor.
      ‘they saw themselves as the true heirs of the Enlightenment’
      • ‘If they were pioneering dabblers in Freudian analysis, Carrie and her colleagues could be their true heirs.’
      • ‘That has been the argument of the Bolsheviks, and their heirs, who abolished history, who continue to abort reform.’
      • ‘In that, he is the true heir to Yves Saint Laurent, who could conjure up surrealism without looking a fool.’
      • ‘We are heirs to the true legacy of humanism, and we must never forget this.’
      • ‘He said that here at last were the true heirs of his 1970 Brazil team.’
      • ‘The Nationalists were only too happy in the past to declare themselves as the true heirs of the movement.’
      • ‘Kemp may labor under the illusion that he is the one true heir of Reagan Republicanism.’
      • ‘It is the true heir to the liberal and conservative traditions of New Zealand politics.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin heres.