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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.
being an old variety that is being cultivated again:
heirloom vegetables and fruits.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English heirlome. See heir, loom1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for heirlooms
  • If you've never grown heirlooms before and don't know where to begin, start with a sampler.
  • But all of these heirlooms are evenly deep-hued and luscious on the inside, as crimson and soft as mouth flesh.
  • Albright has some valuable pieces and some heirlooms, but mostly the collection consists of costume jewelry.
  • Dividing family heirlooms can rekindle or begin the ugliest of family feuds.
  • Airlines are not liable to compensate you for any heirlooms or jewelry that were in your lost suitcase.
  • Guests tour the plantation home and see the family heirlooms and period antiques.
  • Family heirlooms and collectibles add character to the cozy bed chambers, each with a private bath and fireplace.
  • Some children express their desire to inherit family heirlooms such as fine antiques and special jewelry.
  • Think about family heirlooms, collections and furniture.
  • Family heirlooms or a customers favorite wallet can be used as a pattern.
British Dictionary definitions for heirlooms


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 heirlooms



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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Encyclopedia Article for heirlooms


an item of personal property that by immemorial usage is regarded as annexed by inheritance to a family estate. The owner of such an heirloom may dispose of it during his lifetime, but he cannot bequeath it by will away from the estate. If he dies intestate (without a will), the object goes to his heir at law; otherwise it goes to whoever takes the estate under his will. Such heirlooms are now almost unknown, but the word has acquired a secondary and popular meaning of items of special, endearing value, such as furniture or pictures, handed down from one generation to the next.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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