Etymology
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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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hereditary (adj.)

early 15c., "transmitted in a line of progeny," hereditarie, from Latin hereditarius "inherited; of or relating to an inheritance," from hereditas "heirship, inheritance" (see heredity). Oldest English sense of diseases; meaning "transmitted or held by inheritance" is from mid-15c.

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heredity (n.)

1530s, "inheritance, succession," from French hérédité, from Old French eredite "inheritance, legacy" (12c.), from Latin hereditatem (nominative hereditas) "heirship, inheritance, an inheritance, condition of being an heir," from heres (genitive heredis) "heir, heiress" (from PIE root *ghe- "to be empty, left behind," source also of Greek khēra "widow"). Legal sense of "inheritable quality or character" first recorded 1784; the modern biological sense "transmission of qualities from parents to offspring" seems to be found first in 1863, introduced by Herbert Spencer.

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purebred (adj.)

also pure-bred, "of unmixed inheritance or ancestry," 1868, from pure (adj.) + bred.

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cleric (n.)

"a clergyman," 1620s (also in early use as an adjective), from Church Latin clericus "clergyman, priest," noun use of adjective meaning "priestly, belonging to the clerus;" from Ecclesiastical Greek klērikos "pertaining to an inheritance," but in Greek Christian jargon by 2c., "of the clergy, belonging to the clergy," as opposed to the laity; from klēros "a lot, allotment; piece of land; heritage, inheritance," originally "a shard or wood chip used in casting lots," related to klan "to break" (see clastic).

Klēros was used by early Greek Christians for matters relating to ministry, based on Deuteronomy xviii.2 reference to Levites as temple assistants: "Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance" (klēros being used as a translation of Hebrew nahalah "inheritance, lot"). Or else it is from the use of the word in Acts i:17. A word taken up in English after clerk (n.) shifted to its modern meaning.

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succession (n.)

early 14c., "fact or right of succeeding someone by inheritance," from Old French succession "inheritance; a following on" (13c.), from Latin successionem (nominative successio) "a following after, a coming into another's place, result," noun of action from successus, past participle of succedere (see succeed). Meaning "fact of being later in time" is late 14c. Meaning "a regular sequence" is from mid-15c.

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patrimonial (adj.)

1520s, "inherited from an ancestor or ancestors," from French patrimonial and directly from Late Latin patrimonialis, from Latin patrimonium "inheritance from a father" (see patrimony). Related: Patrimonially.

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coheir (n.)

also co-heir, "a joint heir, one who has a right to an equal share of an inheritance with another," c. 1400, from co- + heir. Related: Coheiress.

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heir (n.)

"one who inherits, or has right of inheritance in, the property of another," c. 1300, from Anglo-French heir, Old French oir "heir, successor; heritage, inheritance," from Latin heredem (nominative heres) "heir, heiress" (see heredity). Heir apparent (late 14c.) has the French order of noun-adjective, though it was not originally so written in English. It is the heir of one still alive whose right is clear. After death the heir apparent becomes the heir-at-law. Related: Heir-apparency.

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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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