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  1. succeeding or future generations collectively: Judgment of this age must be left to posterity.
  2. all descendants of one person: His fortune was gradually dissipated by his posterity.
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Origin of posterity

1350–1400; Middle English posterite < Latin posteritās, noun derivative of posterus coming after. See posterior, -ity
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for posterity


  1. future or succeeding generations
  2. all of one's descendants
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Word Origin

C14: from French postérité, from Latin posteritās future generations, from posterus coming after, from post after
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 posterity


late 14c., from Old French posterité (14c.), from Latin posteritatem (nominative posteritas) "future, future time; after-generation, offspring;" literally "the condition of coming after," from posterus "coming after, subsequent," from post "after" (see post-). Old English words for this included æftercneoreso, framcynn.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper