AskDefine | Define inherit

Dictionary Definition



1 obtain from someone after their death; "I inherited a castle from my French grandparents" [syn: come into]
2 receive from a predecessor; "The new chairman inherited many problems from the previous chair"
3 receive by genetic transmission; "I inherited my good eyesight from my mother"

User Contributed Dictionary



enheriter, from inhereditare.



  1. To take possession of as a right (especially in Biblical translations)
    Your descendants will inherit the earth.
  2. To receive (property or a title etc), by legal succession or bequest after the previous owner's death
    After Grandad died, I inherited the house.
  3. To receive a characteristic from one's ancestors by genetic transmission
    Let's hope the baby inherits his mother's looks and his father's intelligence.
  4. To derive from people or conditions previously in force
    This country has inherited an invidious class culture.
  5. to come into an inheritance
    Lucky old Daniel – his parents were both killed, and he's inherited.


to take possession of as a right
  • Finnish: periä
to receive property or a title by legal succession etc.
to receive a characteristic by genetic transmission
  • Czech: zdědit
  • Finnish: periä
  • German: erben
  • Norwegian: arve
  • Swedish: ärva
to derive from people or conditions previously in force
  • Finnish: periä
to come into an inheritance
  • Finnish: periä

Extensive Definition

To inherit something is to get it from one's ancestors through legal succession (e.g., "inherit the throne"), or through a bequest (e.g., "inherited money from his deceased aunt"), or from genetic transmission (e.g., "inherited color-blindness from his father"). As a related definition, it can mean to take power or possession due to a perceived right or dominating ability to do so (e.g., "Their children's children will inherit the earth"; or, "The nobility of the invading tribe will inherit the ruling-caste positions of Xopanthia").
As a further related definition, it can also mean — in a more general sense — to derive a characteristic from people, groups or objects which were influential at some time in the past, even if such people/groups/objects are not "ancestral" to those who receive the characteristic (as in, for example, "The Western Europeans, during the Middle Ages, inherited the learning of the Arabs by translating many of their important writings").
Other specific meanings and related articles:
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