- to dispose of (personal property, especially money) by last will: She bequeathed her half of the company to her niece.
- to hand down; pass on.
- Obsolete. to commit; entrust.
Origin of bequeath
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- law to dispose of (property, esp personal property) by willCompare devise (def. 2)
- to hand down; pass on, as to following generations
Word Origin and History for bequeathal
Old English becweðan "to say, speak to, exhort, blame," also "leave by will;" from be- + cweðan "to say," from Proto-Germanic *kwithan, from PIE *gwet- "to say, speak."
Original sense of "say, utter" died out 13c., leaving legal sense of "transfer by will." Closely related to bequest. "An old word kept alive in wills" [OED 1st ed.]. Old English bequeðere meant "interpreter, translator." Related: Bequeathed; bequeathing.