Etymology
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inherit (v.)

c. 1300, "to make (someone) an heir" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French enheriter "make heir, attribute the right of inheretance to, appoint as heir," from Late Latin inhereditare "to appoint as heir," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + Latin hereditare "to inherit," from heres (genitive heredis) "heir" (see heredity).

Sense of "receive inheritance, get by succession as representative of the former possessor" is attested from mid-14c.; in Medieval Latin inhereditare also had taken on a sense "put in possession." Original sense is retained in disinherit. Related: Inherited; inheriting; inheritable.

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disinherit (v.)

"deprive of inheritance or right to inherit," mid-15c. (implied in disinherited), from dis- + inherit. Related: Disinheriting; disinheritance. Replaced earlier desherit (c. 1300), from Old French desheriter.

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inheritance (n.)

late 14c., enheritaunce "fact of receiving by hereditary succession;" early 15c. as "that which is or may be inherited," from Anglo-French and Old French enheritaunce, from Old French enheriter "make heir, appoint as heir" (see inherit). Heritance "act of inheriting" is from mid-15c.

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heiress (n.)

1650s, from heir + -ess. A female heir, but especially a woman who has inherited, or stands to inherit, considerable wealth.

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heritable (adj.)

"capable of being inherited, inheritable," early 15c., from Old French heritable (c. 1200), from heriter "to inherit" (see heritage). The Medieval Latin word was hereditabilis. Related: Heritability.

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heritage (n.)

c. 1200, "that which may be inherited," from Old French iritage, eritage, heritage "heir; inheritance, ancestral estate, heirloom," from heriter "inherit," from Late Latin hereditare, ultimately from Latin heres (genitive heredis) "heir" (see heredity). Meaning "condition or state transmitted from ancestors" is from 1620s.

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obtain (v.)

early 15c., obteinen, "to get or acquire, inherit, gain, conquer," from Old French obtenir "acquire, obtain" (14c.) and directly from Latin obtinere "hold, hold fast, take hold of, get possession of, acquire," from ob "in front of" (though perhaps intensive in this case; see ob-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). Intransitive sense of "be prevalent or customary, be established in practice" is from 1610s. Related: Obtained; obtaining.

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ability (n.)
Origin and meaning of ability

late 14c., "state or condition of being able; capacity to do or act," from Old French ableté "ability (to inherit)," from Latin habilitatem (nominative habilitas, in Medieval Latin abilitas) "aptitude, ability," noun of quality from habilis "easy to manage, handy" (see able). One case where a Latin silent -h- failed to make a return in English (despite efforts of 16c.-17c. scholars); see H. Also in Middle English, "suitableness, fitness." Abilities "one's talents or mental endowments" is from 1580s.

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morganatic (adj.)

a word used to denote the marriage of a man of high rank to a woman of lower station with stipulations limiting her claims, also of the marriage of a woman of high rank to a man of lower station; 1727, from French morganatique (18c.), from Medieval Latin matrimonium ad morganaticam "marriage of the morning," probably from Old High German *morgangeba (Middle High German morgengabe) "morning gift," corresponding to Old English morgengifu (see morn + gift (n.) ).

In an unequal marriage between a man of royal blood and a common woman, this was a gift traditionally given to the wife on the morning after consummation, representing the only share she and her children may claim in the husband's estate. Also known as left-handed marriage, because the groom gives the bride his left hand instead of his right, but sometimes this latter term is used of a class of marriage (especially in Germany) where the spouse of inferior rank is not elevated, but the children inherit rights of succession. Related: Morganatically.

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