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[air-loom] /ˈɛərˌlum/
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
late Middle English
First recorded in 1375-1425, heirloom is from the late Middle English word heirlome. See heir, loom1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for heirloom
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • 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
C15: from heir + lome tool; see loom1
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
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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
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