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[bih-kweeth , -kweeth] /bɪˈkwið, -ˈkwiθ/
verb (used with object)
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
before 1000; Middle English bequethen, Old English becwethan (be- be- + cwethan to say (see quoth), cognate with Old High German quedan, Gothic qithan)
Related forms
bequeathable, adjective
bequeathal, bequeathment, noun
bequeather, noun
unbequeathable, adjective
unbequeathed, adjective
1. will, impart, leave, bestow, grant, consign. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bequeathing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In 1711 he died, bequeathing a large sum of money to the poor.

  • McCann left a hand-written will bequeathing all his possessions to Karpin.

    The Risk Profession Donald Edwin Westlake
  • The notion of a bequeathing and inheriting of views is exaggerated.

    Talleyrand Joseph McCabe
  • He made a will bequeathing his property to Paine, and stabbed himself.

  • He conceived the idea of bequeathing his property to the state.

    Forty Thousand Miles Over Land and Water

    Lady (Ethel Gwendoline [Moffatt]) Vincent
  • By our example, bequeathing misery to such as love it, Learn to be happy.

  • On May 16 this will was drawn up, bequeathing the property to a certain person.

    The Lost Heir G. A. Henty
  • To him, her father was now bequeathing her—his dearest earthly treasure.


    Marion Harland
  • Frederick has had nothing to do with my uncle's bequeathing the estate to him.

    Verner's Pride Mrs. Henry Wood
British Dictionary definitions for bequeathing


/bɪˈkwiːð; -ˈkwiːθ/
verb (transitive)
(law) to dispose of (property, esp personal property) by will Compare devise (sense 2)
to hand down; pass on, as to following generations
Derived Forms
bequeather, noun
bequeathal, noun
Word Origin
Old English becwethan; related to Old Norse kvetha to speak, Gothic qithan, Old High German quethan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bequeathing



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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