heir

[air]
noun
1.
a person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property of another following the latter's death.
2.
Law.
a.
(in common law) a person who inherits all the property of a deceased person, as by descent, relationship, will, or legal process.
b.
Civil Law. a person who legally succeeds to the place of a deceased person and assumes the rights and obligations of the deceased, as the liabilities for debts or the possessory rights to property.
3.
a person who inherits or is entitled to inherit the rank, title, position, etc., of another.
4.
a person or group considered as inheriting the tradition, talent, etc., of a predecessor.
verb (used with object)
5.
Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. to inherit; succeed to.

Origin:
1225–75; Middle English eir, heir < Old French < Latin hērēd- (stem of hērēs); akin to Greek chêros bereaved

heirless, adjective

air, e'er, ere, err, heir.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
heir (ɛə)
 
n
1.  civil law the person legally succeeding to all property of a deceased person, irrespective of whether such person died testate or intestate, and upon whom devolves as well as the rights the duties and liabilities attached to the estate
2.  any person or thing that carries on some tradition, circumstance, etc, from a forerunner
3.  an archaic word for offspring
 
[C13: from Old French, from Latin hērēs; related to Greek khēros bereaved]
 
'heirless
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

heir
late 13c., from Anglo-Fr. heir, from O.Fr. hair, from L. heres (gen. heredis) "heir, heiress" (see heredity). Heir apparent (late 14c.) has the French order of noun-adj., though it was not originally so in English. It is the heir of one still alive whose right is clear.
After death the heir apparent becomes the heir-at-law.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Heir definition


Under the patriarchs the property of a father was divided among the sons of his legitimate wives (Gen. 21:10; 24:36; 25:5), the eldest son getting a larger portion than the rest. The Mosaic law made specific regulations regarding the transmission of real property, which are given in detail in Deut. 21:17; Num. 27:8; 36:6; 27:9-11. Succession to property was a matter of right and not of favour. Christ is the "heir of all things" (Heb. 1:2; Col. 1:15). Believers are heirs of the "promise," "of righteousness," "of the kingdom," "of the world," "of God," "joint heirs" with Christ (Gal 3:29; Heb. 6:17; 11:7; James 2:5; Rom. 4:13; 8:17).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Boys were considered more valuable-as heirs or for support in old age.
There could also be a search to find heirs of the original owner.
They are the heirs to fascists, communists and other extremists, who failed.
Although the tract had once been part of a large multi-generational family
  farm, the heirs had dispersed around the country.
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