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2017 Word of the Year

heir at law

noun, plural heirs at law.
1.
a person who inherits, or has a right of inheritance in, the real property of one who has died without leaving a valid will.
Origin of heir at law
1720-1730
First recorded in 1720-30
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for heir-at-law
Historical Examples
  • And then I had rights in this matter—am I not his heir-at-law?

    Studies in love and in terror Marie Belloc Lowndes
  • No will had been made leaving the estate to him, and his namesake would be the heir-at-law.

    Ralph the Heir

    Anthony Trollope
  • Through your mother you stand next in the line—are heir-at-law, you see.

  • He made no codicils and left no debts, so the King got all as heir-at-law.

    The Greville Memoirs Charles C. F. Greville
  • No will had been found, and the son succeeded as heir-at-law.

    Wyandotte James Fenimore Cooper
  • "Mother must be heir-at-law, for her grandmother was eldest," said Janet.

    Magnum Bonum Charlotte M. Yonge
  • He does not look much like a man who might play into the hands of an heir-at-law, does he?

    Redburn. His First Voyage Herman Melville
  • The estate would go, of course, to the heir-at-law, strictly entailed as it had been for many generations.

    Nevermore Rolf Boldrewood
  • The heir-at-law was well inclined to it, but melancholy, so that the people dare not trust to a settlement from him.

  • It would be fatal to the interests of Floyd if the will should be ignored and half the estate allowed him as heir-at-law.

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
British Dictionary definitions for heir-at-law

heir-at-law

noun (pl) heirs-at-law
1.
(property law) the person entitled to succeed to the real property of a person who dies intestate
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 Value for heir

7
6
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