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[prahy-muh-jen-i-cher, -choo r] /ˌpraɪ məˈdʒɛn ɪ tʃər, -ˌtʃʊər/
the state or fact of being the firstborn of children of the same parents.
Law. the system of inheritance or succession by the firstborn, specifically the eldest son.
Compare postremogeniture.
Origin of primogeniture
1585-95; < Medieval Latin prīmōgenitūra a first birth, equivalent to Latin prīmō at first + genitūra, equivalent to genit(us) (past participle of gignere to beget; see kin) + -ūra -ure
Related forms
primogenitary, primogenital, adjective
primogenitureship, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for primogeniture
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We need not hesitate to attribute the change to the influence of primogeniture.

    Ancient Law Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
  • Here then emerges the historical difficulty of primogeniture.

    Ancient Law Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
  • Socially it appears far more just and reasonable than the custom of primogeniture.

    Medival Wales A. G. Little
  • Then occurred an extraordinary hitch in the history of primogeniture.

    Shakespeare's Family Mrs. C. C. Stopes
  • Yet in the case of primogeniture our opinion would have to be modified.

  • Was then a right of primogeniture to be admitted in the church, as in noble families?

    The Thirty Years War, Complete Friedrich Schiller
  • Curiously enough, the Mangaians seem to be sticklers for primogeniture.

  • I look at society as it is, not as it would be if we had primogeniture and a landed aristocracy.

    The Golden House Charles Dudley Warner
  • It is owing to primogeniture that while there is a nobility in England there is no noblesse.

    The Complete Essays of C. D. Warner Charles Dudley Warner
British Dictionary definitions for primogeniture


the state of being a first-born
(law) the right of an eldest son to succeed to the estate of his ancestor to the exclusion of all others Compare ultimogeniture
Derived Forms
primogenitary (ˌpraɪməʊˈdʒɛnɪtərɪ; -trɪ) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin prīmōgenitūra birth of a first child, from Latin prīmō at first + Late Latin genitūra a birth
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 primogeniture

"right of succession of the first-born," c.1600, from French primogeniture and directly from Medieval Latin primogenitura, from Late Latin primogenitus "first-born," from Latin primo (adv.) "first in order of time," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + genitus, past participle of gignere "to beget" (see genus). Earlier it meant simply "fact of being first-born" (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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primogeniture in Culture
primogeniture [(preye-moh-jen-uh-choor, preye-moh-jen-uh-chuhr)]

A system of inheritance in which land passes exclusively to the eldest son. Until the Industrial Revolution, this system severely restricted the freedom of younger sons, who were often forced into the military or the clergy to earn a living.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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