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[her-ee-uh t]
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noun English Law.
  1. a feudal service or tribute, originally of borrowed military equipment and later of a chattel, due to the lord on the death of a tenant.

Origin of heriot

before 900; Middle English heriot, heriet, Old English heregeate, heregeatu, heregeatwa war gear, equivalent to here army + geate, etc., equipment; cognate with Old Norse gǫtvar (plural)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for heriot

Historical Examples

  • The heriot of a virgate was generally an ox, or money payment of its value.

    The Enclosures in England

    Harriett Bradley

  • They couldna mak' my legs gude i' the infairmary, but I'm gangin' to Heriot's.

    Greyfriars Bobby

    Eleanor Atkinson

  • So with emphasis Miss Heriot repeated, 'Perfectly revolting!'

    The Convert

    Elizabeth Robins

  • Mrs. Heriot went to her and laid her hand on the girl's shoulder.

    The Convert

    Elizabeth Robins

  • According to Strachey, Heriot could speak the native language.

British Dictionary definitions for heriot


  1. (in medieval England) a death duty paid by villeins and free tenants to their lord, often consisting of the dead man's best beast or chattel

Word Origin

Old English heregeatwa, from here army + geatwa equipment
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

Word Origin and History for heriot


Old English here-geatwe (plural) "military equipment, army-gear," from here "army" (see harry). An Anglo-Saxon service of weapons, loaned by the lord to his retainer and repayable to him upon the retainer's death; transferred by 13c. to a feudal due upon the death of a tenant, payable to his lord in beasts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper