Definition of inherit in US English:


verbinherited, inheriting, inherits

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

    ‘she inherited a fortune from her father’
    • ‘The wife keeps her mother's last name, children keep the mother's last name and the youngest daughter inherits the family property.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All other property is inherited equally among all heirs from both parents.’
    • ‘Her property would be inherited by her children who would be members of the new family.’
    • ‘Often properties are inherited by several heirs.’
    • ‘This allows you to decide exactly which people will inherit any money, property or other assets when you die.’
    • ‘The property was initially inherited by the deceased's sister, the only known relative entitled to the inheritance at the time.’
    • ‘Furthermore, people who inherit such money can also be made liable for tax due.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He knew that once Reginald died and Miranda inherited his money and estate, they would be together again.’
    • ‘It was my father's intention that he should not, however inherit the property until he was 21 years old.’
    • ‘In order to inherit money from his aunt he has to marry within a month.’
    • ‘This debt is then gifted to a second trust, which ensures your children inherit the property on your death.’
    • ‘Those are people who inherited large sums of money, won the lottery, or sold their Internet businesses for billions of dollars.’
    • ‘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.’
    become heir to, fall heir to, come by, come into, be bequeathed, be left, be willed
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    1. 1.1 Derive (a quality, characteristic, or predisposition) genetically from one's parents or ancestors.
      ‘she had inherited the beauty of her grandmother’
      • ‘The genetic make-up of an individual is inherited from parent to offspring and underpins certain characters or traits.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although cancer cannot be inherited from parent to child, genetic factors do have an effect.’
      • ‘It states that evolution occurs because organisms can inherit traits that were acquired by their ancestors during their ancestors' lifetimes.’
      • ‘This would have been true whether or not these children had inherited their parents' metabolic type, but especially true if they had.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The other set of markers will identify the normal chromosome inherited from the normal parent.’
      • ‘It's a blood disease that is genetically inherited, which explains his chronic fatigue, muscle aches, and abdominal pain.’
      • ‘Children who develop asthma have inherited a genetic predisposition to have the disease.’
      • ‘However, scientists feel that a set of predisposing genes inherited from one's parents is likely to be required.’
      • ‘Sickle cell disease is a blood disease that children inherit from their parents.’
      • ‘The scientists examined nine genetic areas inherited from both parents.’
      • ‘First, this explanation requires a bias among researchers in selecting for combinations of traits inherited from the same ancestral species.’
      • ‘As a result, most inhabitants share common ancestors and have inherited many of the same genetic traits.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This gives the basis for following genetically inherited traits, ranging from predisposition to certain diseases to conformation characteristics.’
      • ‘Collins said that disease is not genetically inherited but develops in each patient.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Your genes (the characteristics you inherit from your parents) determine the potential height and strength of your skeleton.’
    2. 1.2 Receive or be left with (a situation, object, etc.) from a predecessor or former owner.
      ‘spending commitments inherited from previous administrations’
      • ‘We all have aspects that we don't much like: either inherited from the previous owner, or mistakes that we have made ourselves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Are your lawmakers for upholding the law, or for continuing to break it by staying with the situation which they inherited?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Louis XIII inherited a difficult situation with regards to religion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We appreciate that she has inherited a bad situation that was made worse by her predecessor.’
      • ‘Putin was saddled with social commitments and expectations inherited from Soviet days that were wildly beyond his means to meet.’
      • ‘She initially increased the audience inherited from her predecessor, but that has now plummeted since the highs of more than seven million.’
      • ‘In the Lebanon, his bodyguard-driven, old Mercedes had bullet holes down one side inherited from a previous owner (the prime minister).’
      • ‘The Harbour Commissioners inherited a situation which for the moment was stable, but deteriorating.’
      • ‘Or, perhaps, the Thames Valley Police inherited the unsolved case file from the Berkshire Constabulary, when it became part of their force.’
      • ‘But I do also know that he inherited a fiscal situation where he had a $250 billion surplus.’
      succeed to, accede to, assume, take over, come into
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3North American Come into possession of (belongings) from someone else.
      ‘she inherits all her clothes from her older sisters’
      • ‘Our son even inherited Thomas' outgrown clothes.’
      • ‘I'm not against buying second hand clothes, nor inheriting from other people.’
    4. 1.4archaic Come into possession of (something) as a right (especially in biblical translations and allusions)
      ‘master, what must 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.’’
      • ‘A rich young man once asked Jesus, ‘Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Lord would have us know that many are called to inherit eternal life, but few are chosen by virtue of believing in Christ.’
      • ‘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.’


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’.