[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. beothuk,
  2. beowulf,
  3. bepaint,
  4. bepester,
  5. bepuzzle,
  6. bequest,
  7. ber. is.,
  8. berachah,
  9. berakah,
  10. berakhah

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bequeath

British Dictionary definitions for bequeath


/ (bɪˈkwiːð, -ˈkwiːθ) /

verb (tr)

law to dispose of (property, esp personal property) by willCompare devise (def. 2)
to hand down; pass on, as to following generations
Derived Formsbequeather, nounbequeathal, noun

Word Origin for bequeath

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

Word Origin and History for bequeath



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