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From Middle English heir, from Anglo-Norman eir, heir, from Latin hērēs.



heir (plural heirs)

  1. Someone who inherits, or is designated to inherit, the property of another.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      I am my father's heir and only son.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
      And no use for anyone to tell Charles that this was because the Family was in mourning for Mr Granville Darracott […]: Charles might only have been second footman at Darracott Place for a couple of months when that disaster occurred, but no one could gammon him into thinking that my lord cared a spangle for his heir.
  2. One who inherits, or has been designated to inherit, a hereditary title or office.
  3. A successor in a role, representing continuity with the predecessor.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Alexander Pope
      And I his heir in misery alone.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter I, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      "I wish we were back in Tenth Street. But so many children came [] and the Tenth Street house wasn't half big enough; and a dreadful speculative builder built this house and persuaded Austin to buy it. Oh, dear, and here we are among the rich and great; and the steel kings and copper kings and oil kings and their heirs and dauphins. []"
    • 2013 May 11, “What a waste”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8835, page 12:
      India is run by gerontocrats and epigones: grey hairs and groomed heirs.


Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


heir (third-person singular simple present heirs, present participle heiring, simple past and past participle heired)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To inherit.
    • Quoted in 1950, Our Garst family in America (page 27)
      [] Leonard Houtz & John Myer to be executors to this my last will & testament & lastly my children shall heir equally, one as much as the other.

See alsoEdit





heir n (plural heiren, diminutive heirtje n)

  1. (archaic) Alternative spelling of heer (army)

Derived termsEdit

Middle EnglishEdit

Etymology 1Edit



  1. Alternative form of hire

Etymology 2Edit



  1. Alternative form of here (their)