hereditary Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective satellite occurring among members of a family usually by heredity
    transmissible; familial; genetic; transmitted; inherited.
    • an inherited disease
    • familial traits
    • genetically transmitted features
  2. adjective satellite inherited or inheritable by established rules (usually legal rules) of descent
    patrimonial; ancestral; transmissible.
    • ancestral home
    • ancestral lore
    • hereditary monarchy
    • patrimonial estate
    • transmissible tradition


He*red"i*ta*ry adjective
L. hereditarius, fr. hereditas heirship, inheritance, fr. heres heir: cf. F. héréditaire. See Heir.
  1. Descended, or capable of descending, from an ancestor to an heir at law; received or passing by inheritance, or that must pass by inheritance; as, an hereditary estate or crown.
  2. Transmitted, or capable of being transmitted, as a constitutional quality or condition from a parent to a child; as, hereditary pride, bravery, disease. Syn. -- Ancestral; patrimonial; inheritable.

Webster 1913