[bih-kweeth, -kweeth]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to dispose of (personal property, especially money) by last will: She bequeathed her half of the company to her niece.
  2. to hand down; pass on.
  3. 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 formsbe·queath·a·ble, adjectivebe·queath·al, be·queath·ment, nounbe·queath·er, nounun·be·queath·a·ble, adjectiveun·be·queathed, adjective

Synonyms for bequeath

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bequeathment

Historical Examples of bequeathment

  • Sure, it shouldn't be a bequeathment job, this trolley business.

    Six One-Act Plays

    Margaret Scott Oliver

British Dictionary definitions for bequeathment


verb (tr)
  1. law to dispose of (property, esp personal property) by willCompare devise (def. 2)
  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 bequeathment



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