a. Of or relating to heredity or inheritance.
b. Transmitted or capable of being transmitted genetically from parent to offspring: a hereditary disease.
a. Passed down from one generation to the next: a hereditary prejudice.
b. Being such or possessed by reason of birth: a hereditary aristocracy.
a. Capable of being inherited.
b. Descending from an ancestor to a legal heir; passing down by inheritance.
c. Having title or possession through inheritance.
[Middle English, from Latin hērēditārius, from hērēditās, inheritance; see HEREDITY.]
he·red′i·tari·ly (-târə-lē) adv.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.