Definition of heir in US 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’
    • ‘These responsibilities of the heir under customary law had indeed been enforced by courts.’
    • ‘The seeming acceptance by the Royal Family of the heir to the throne's new wife has also been of major importance.’
    • ‘But civil disobedience is a different prospect for the heir to the throne than for others.’
    • ‘Upon the death of his father Frederick in 1751, George succeeded as prince of Wales and heir to the throne.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her health and good looks may have secured her marriage to the heir to the Danish throne, but they would not secure her happiness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mary went to live at the French court and at the age of fifteen married Francis, heir to the French throne.’
    • ‘Prince William is playing the part of the young heir to the throne to a tee.’
    • ‘Should the Tudor line die out, there would be a Stewart heir to the English throne.’
    • ‘What everybody forgot was that, with no Empress or heirs to the throne, there was a distinct power void.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She has been the princess, the heir, the future queen, before and she knows what it is like.’
    • ‘I was their prince, their heir to the throne, and all they had heard of me was from rumours.’
    • ‘In fact, his son and heir Prince William has been here only once, as a baby.’
    • ‘There the court held that the imposition of ‘fines’ on the heirs of a deceased was criminal in nature.’
    • ‘I mourn for the loss of my beloved wife, but I rejoice over the birth of my son and heir to my throne.’
    • ‘I think it is instead to protect their property and the property of their heirs.’
    • ‘Factions formed around the heir to the throne and other members of the royal family as well as in the entourage of ministers.’
    successor, heiress, next in line, inheritor, heir apparent, heir presumptive, heir-at-law, descendant, beneficiary, legatee, scion
    successor, next in line, inheritor, heir apparent, heir presumptive, heir-at-law, descendant, beneficiary, legatee, scion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person inheriting and continuing the legacy of a predecessor.
      ‘they saw themselves as the true heirs of the Enlightenment’
      • ‘He said that here at last were the true heirs of his 1970 Brazil team.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That has been the argument of the Bolsheviks, and their heirs, who abolished history, who continue to abort reform.’
      • ‘It is the true heir to the liberal and conservative traditions of New Zealand politics.’
      • ‘If they were pioneering dabblers in Freudian analysis, Carrie and her colleagues could be their true heirs.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin heres.