a family possession handed down from generation to generation.
Law. property neither personal nor real that descends to the heir of an estate as part of the real property.


noting or relating to an old plant variety that is being cultivated again: heirloom vegetables and fruits.Compare heritage(def 6).

Origin of heirloom

First recorded in 1375–1425, heirloom is from the late Middle English word heirlome. See heir, loom1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heirloom

Contemporary Examples of heirloom

Historical Examples of heirloom

  • He thinks that—that heirloom house of mine will look better in the daylight.

    Thankful's Inheritance

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I'd swear that strong brow and frank look must be an heirloom.'

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • It was an heirloom, and she could never bring herself to part with it.

    The Nebuly Coat

    John Meade Falkner

  • He opened a silver cigarette-case—an heirloom with a crest on it.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht

  • Their plough, an heirloom from remote antiquity, merely scratches the earth.

    East of Suez

    Frederic Courtland Penfield

British Dictionary definitions for heirloom



an object that has been in a family for generations
property law a chattel inherited by special custom or in accordance with the terms of a will

Word Origin for heirloom

C15: from heir + lome tool; see loom 1
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 heirloom

early 15c., ayre lome, a hybrid from heir + loom in its original but now otherwise obsolete sense of "implement, tool." Technically, some piece of property that by will or custom passes down with the real estate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper