WATCH NOW: What Is The Difference Between "Heritage" And "Inheritance"?

WATCH NOW: What Is The Difference Between "Heritage" And "Inheritance"?

While inheritance and heritage may seem similar, and the definitions do have some overlap, there is a distinct difference.



something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition: a national heritage of honor, pride, and courage.
something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot or portion: a heritage of poverty and suffering.
something reserved for one: the heritage of the righteous.
  1. something that has been or may be inherited by legal descent or succession.
  2. any property, especially land, that devolves by right of inheritance.


noting or relating to a product, place, etc., that evokes a nostalgic sense of tradition or history: visitors to a heritage site in the Middle East.
noting or relating to an older, traditional breed of animal or plant: raising pure-breed heritage hogs.Compare heirloom(def 3).

Origin of heritage

1175–1225; Middle English < Middle French, equivalent to heriter to inherit + -age -age; see heir

Synonyms for heritage

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

Examples from the Web for heritage

Contemporary Examples of heritage

Historical Examples of heritage

  • In each generation, with toil and tears, we have had to earn our heritage again.

  • The heritage was too compelling for a wolf that was only a cub.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • Partly, no doubt, it was a heritage of the sentiment of the French Revolution.

  • The heritage belongs to you and my brother, who took care of my uncle up to the last.

  • Such was the law of expansion; the earth was the heritage of the most numerous race.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for heritage



something inherited at birth, such as personal characteristics, status, and possessions
anything that has been transmitted from the past or handed down by tradition
  1. the evidence of the past, such as historical sites, buildings, and the unspoilt natural environment, considered collectively as the inheritance of present-day society
  2. (as modifier; cap. as part of name)Bannockburn Heritage Centre
something that is reserved for a particular person or group or the outcome of an action, way of life, etcthe sea was their heritage; the heritage of violence
law any property, esp land, that by law has descended or may descend to an heir
  1. the Israelites regarded as belonging inalienably to God
  2. the land of Canaan regarded as God's gift to the Israelites

Word Origin for heritage

C13: from Old French; see 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 heritage

c.1200, "that which may be inherited," from Old French iritage, eritage, heritage, from heriter "inherit," from Late Latin hereditare, ultimately from Latin heres (genitive heredis) "heir" (see heredity).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper