a woman who inherits or has a right of inheritance, especially a woman who has inherited or will inherit considerable wealth.

Origin of heiress

First recorded in 1650–60; heir + -ess

Usage note

See -ess.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heiress

Contemporary Examples of heiress

Historical Examples of heiress

  • A man sent me this morning a copy of verses to the heiress of Bannow.

  • It is not often that the heiress of a million or thereabouts is quite so readily disposed of.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • I s'pose he wasn't going to take any chances of losing his heiress.

    The Mystery of Murray Davenport

    Robert Neilson Stephens

  • Heathcroft evidently had not told her of the Warwickshire heiress.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • My brother is a rich man, and my daughter may be his heiress.


    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for heiress



a woman who inherits or expects to inherit great wealth
property law a female heir
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 heiress

1650s, from heir + -ess.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper