[her-ee-uh t]

noun English Law.

a feudal service or tribute, originally of borrowed military equipment and later of a chattel, due to the lord on the death of a tenant.

Origin of heriot

before 900; Middle English heriot, heriet, Old English heregeate, heregeatu, heregeatwa war gear, equivalent to here army + geate, etc., equipment; cognate with Old Norse gǫtvar (plural)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heriot

Historical Examples of heriot

  • The heriot of a virgate was generally an ox, or money payment of its value.

  • They couldna mak' my legs gude i' the infairmary, but I'm gangin' to Heriot's.

    Greyfriars Bobby

    Eleanor Atkinson

  • So with emphasis Miss Heriot repeated, 'Perfectly revolting!'

    The Convert

    Elizabeth Robins

  • Mrs. Heriot went to her and laid her hand on the girl's shoulder.

    The Convert

    Elizabeth Robins

  • According to Strachey, Heriot could speak the native language.

British Dictionary definitions for heriot



(in medieval England) a death duty paid by villeins and free tenants to their lord, often consisting of the dead man's best beast or chattel

Word Origin for heriot

Old English heregeatwa, from here army + geatwa equipment
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 heriot

Old English here-geatwe (plural) "military equipment, army-gear," from here "army" (see harry). An Anglo-Saxon service of weapons, loaned by the lord to his retainer and repayable to him upon the retainer's death; transferred by 13c. to a feudal due upon the death of a tenant, payable to his lord in beasts.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper