primogeniture

[prahy-muh-jen-i-cher, -choor]
noun
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.


Origin:
1585–95; < Medieval Latin prīmōgenitūra a first birth, equivalent to Latin prīmō at first + genitūra, equivalent to genit(us) (past participle of gignere to beget; see kin) + -ūra -ure

primogenitary, primogenital, adjective
primogenitureship, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
primogeniture (ˌpraɪməʊˈdʒɛnɪtʃə)
 
n
1.  the state of being a first-born
2.  law Compare ultimogeniture the right of an eldest son to succeed to the estate of his ancestor to the exclusion of all others
 
[C17: from Medieval Latin prīmōgenitūra birth of a first child, from Latin prīmō at first + Late Latin genitūra a birth]
 
primogenitary
 
adj

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

primogeniture
c.1600, "right of succession of the first-born," from M.L. primogenitura, from L.L. primogenitus "first-born," from L. primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + genitus, pp. of gignere "to beget" (see genus).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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 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
One's position in society was hereditary, with primogeniture the general rule.
To see how, think about what happens to a farm as it is handed down the generations in a country without primogeniture.
Variations of primogeniture reduce, or eliminate the preference for males.
Firms that rely on primogeniture, he notes, perform poorly.
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