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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.