From Middle English enheriten, from Old French enheriter, from Late Latin inhereditare (“make heir”). Replaced native Old English irfan, compare related noun erf (“inheritance”), from Middle English erve, from Old English yrfe, ierfe (“heritage, bequest, inheritance, property, inherited property, property that passes to an heir, cattle, livestock”), from Proto-Germanic *arbiją (“heritage”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃erbʰ- (“to change ownership”) (from which also *h₃órbʰos (“orphan”)).
inherit (third-person singular simple present inherits, present participle inheriting, simple past and past participle inherited)
- (transitive) To take possession of as a right (especially in Biblical translations).
Your descendants will inherit the earth.
- (transitive) To receive (property, a title, etc.), by legal succession or bequest after the previous owner's death.
1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, in The China Governess:
‘It's rather like a beautiful Inverness cloak one has inherited. Much too good to hide away, so one wears it instead of an overcoat and pretends it's an amusing new fashion.’
After Grandad died, I inherited the house.
- (transitive, biology) To receive a characteristic from one's ancestors by genetic transmission.
Let's hope the baby inherits his mother's looks and his father's intelligence.
- (transitive) To derive from people or conditions previously in force.
This country has inherited an invidious class culture.
- (intransitive) To come into an inheritance.
Lucky old Daniel – his grandfather died rich, and he's inherited.
- (computing, programming, transitive) To derive (existing functionality) from a superclass.
ModalWindow inherits all the properties and methods of Window.
- (computing, programming, transitive) To derive a new class from (a superclass).
2006, Daniel Solis, Illustrated C# 2005:
For example, the following two code segments, from different assemblies, show how easy it is to inherit a class from another assembly.
- (transitive, obsolete) To put in possession of.
c. 1590–1591, William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii]:
This, or else nothing, will inherit her
to take possession of as a right
to receive property or a title by legal succession etc.
to receive a characteristic by genetic transmission
to derive from people or conditions previously in force
to come into an inheritance