[ prahy-muh-jen-i-cher, -choor ]
See synonyms for primogeniture on
  1. the state or fact of being the firstborn of children of the same parents.

  2. Law. the system of inheritance or succession by the firstborn, specifically the eldest son.: Compare postremogeniture.

Origin of primogeniture

First recorded in 1500–20; from Medieval Latin prīmōgenitūra “a first birth,” equivalent to Latin prīmō “at first” + genitūra, equivalent to genit(us) (past participle of gignere “to beget”) + -ūra noun suffix; see kin, -ure

Other words from primogeniture

  • pri·mo·gen·i·tar·y, pri·mo·gen·i·tal, adjective
  • pri·mo·gen·i·ture·ship, noun

Words Nearby primogeniture Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use primogeniture in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for primogeniture


/ (ˌpraɪməʊˈdʒɛnɪtʃə) /

  1. the state of being a first-born

  2. law the right of an eldest son to succeed to the estate of his ancestor to the exclusion of all others: Compare ultimogeniture

Origin of primogeniture

C17: from Medieval Latin prīmōgenitūra birth of a first child, from Latin prīmō at first + Late Latin genitūra a birth

Derived forms of primogeniture

  • primogenitary (ˌpraɪməʊˈdʒɛnɪtərɪ, -trɪ), adjective

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

Cultural definitions for primogeniture


[ (preye-moh-jen-uh-choor, preye-moh-jen-uh-chuhr) ]

A system of inheritance in which land passes exclusively to the eldest son. Until the Industrial Revolution, this system severely restricted the freedom of younger sons, who were often forced into the military or the clergy to earn a living.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.