v. in·her·it·ed, in·her·it·ing, in·her·its
a. To take (property) by law of descent from an intestate owner.
b. To receive (property) by will; receive by bequest or devise.
2. To receive or take over from a predecessor: The new administration inherited the economic problems of the last four years.
3. Biology To receive (a characteristic) from a parent or ancestor by genetic transmission.
4. To gain (something) as one's right or portion: "A certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (King James Bible).
To hold or take possession of an inheritance.
[Middle English enheriten, from Old French enheriter, to make heir to, from Late Latin inhērēditāre, to inherit : Latin in-, in; see IN-2 + Late Latin hērēditāre, to inherit (from Latin hērēs, hērēd-, heir; see ghē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.