noun, plural heredities. Biology.
the transmission of genetic characters from parents to offspring: it is dependent upon the segregation and recombination of genes during meiosis and fertilization and results in the genesis of a new individual similar to others of its kind but exhibiting certain variations resulting from the particular mix of genes and their interactions with the environment.
the genetic characters so transmitted.
Compare congenital.

1530–40; < Middle French heredite < Latin hērēditāt- (stem of hērēditās) inheritance, equivalent to hērēd- (stem of hērēs) heir + -itāt- -ity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
heredity (hɪˈrɛdɪtɪ)
n , pl -ties
1.  the transmission from one generation to another of genetic factors that determine individual characteristics: responsible for the resemblances between parents and offspring
2.  the sum total of the inherited factors or their characteristics in an organism
[C16: from Old French heredite, from Latin hērēditās inheritance; see heir]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1540, from M.Fr. hérédité, from L. hereditatem (nom. hereditas) "condition of being an heir," from heres (gen. heredis) "heir," from PIE base *ghe- "to be empty, left behind" (cf. Gk. khera "widow"). Legal sense of "inheritable quality or character" first recorded 1784; the modern
biological sense seems to be found first in 1863, introduced by Herbert Spencer.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

heredity he·red·i·ty (hə-rěd'ĭ-tē)

  1. The genetic transmission of characteristics from parent to offspring.

  2. One's genetic constitution.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
heredity   (hə-rěd'ĭ-tē)  Pronunciation Key 
The passage of biological traits or characteristics from parents to offspring through the inheritance of genes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

heredity definition

The passing of characteristics from parents to children. (See genetics.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Tilley credits heredity for her remarkable hands.
The prince is next in line to the throne by virtue of heredity.
He also explained his data by postulating his two laws of heredity:
Discussions about genetics and heredity can be a bit impenetrable to the
  nonscientist, but these constitute only part of the book.
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