a disposition in a will.
a legacy: A small bequest allowed her to live independently.

Origin of bequest

1250–1300; Middle English biqueste, biquyste, equivalent to bi- be- + quiste will, bequest, Old English -cwis(se) (with excrescent t, as in behest), noun derivative of cwethan to say; on the model of bequethen bequeath Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for bequest



  1. the act of bequeathing
  2. something that is bequeathed
law a gift of property by will, esp personal propertyCompare devise (def. 4), devise (def. 5)

Word Origin for bequest

C14: be- + Old English -cwiss degree; see bequeath
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 bequest

c.1300, "act of bequeathing," from be- + *cwis, *cwiss "saying" (related to quoth; from Proto-Germanic *kwessiz; cf. bequeath), with excrescent -t. Meaning "that which is bequeathed" is recorded from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper