According to the definition I'm aware of, heritage means "something that will be inherited by the subject". So if a person A leaves an item X for person B in his will, X is B's heritage.

Is there a word that means "something left by the subject to be inherited by someone else"? (To be used as "X is A's [ something ]").

  • 4
    Heritage is slightly different than inheritance. However, inheritance (or heritage) has no opposite. You either inherit something or you don't. It's not like you could give something to someone upon that someone's death, it's always the other way around.
    – MorganFR
    May 19, 2016 at 15:58
  • 23
    Obviously, it's hisitage. Kids these days.
    – CPerkins
    May 19, 2016 at 17:27
  • 2
    What is wrong with inheritance? May 19, 2016 at 18:32
  • 3
    @CPerkins - I would have said himitage.
    – Hot Licks
    May 19, 2016 at 21:52
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    @CPerkins Her gets used in a few places where his doesn't. The counter part of "That's his!" is "That's hers!", not "That's her!". Also as an object: "I like her"/"I like him" (not "I like his"). So her/his is fine for "her car"/"his car", but different in the other cases. May 20, 2016 at 14:09

4 Answers 4



"A thing handed down by a predecessor" - OED

  • 8
    Not sure what meaning of "opposite" you're using here...
    – user541686
    May 19, 2016 at 18:45
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    @Mehrdad: "Opposite" is a nearly meaningless word. Look at the last sentences of the original post: "Is there a word that means "something left by the subject to be inherited by someone else"? (To be used as "X is A's [ something ]")."
    – herisson
    May 19, 2016 at 19:39
  • 1
    Yeah... opposite is the only word I could come up with to describe what I wanted in a concise way. But whether or not that was a good choice of words, I think legacy is what I was looking for. May 20, 2016 at 14:19
  • @leinaD_natipaC perhaps "complement" would have worked better.
    – Jason
    May 21, 2016 at 22:33
  • Should I open a question on how to ask this question? May 23, 2016 at 14:51

I like Chris's suggestion, "legacy", but another synonym that fits might be "bequest", which is defined in simple terms by Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary as

the property or money that you promise in your will to give to another person or organization after you die

  • 1
    "bequest" is too narrowly defined for the purpose of serving as an antonym to heritage.
    – Aaron Hall
    May 20, 2016 at 18:32
  • @Aaron I don't think so. I think it's what I asked for, but even then legacy fits the bill better. May 23, 2016 at 14:53
  • @leinaD_natipaC It absolutely isn't what you want. Heritage is a broad concept that includes reputation, tradition, and to avoid being redundant to wikipedia, see the list at the top of this page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heritage A bequest is property willfully given (usually so directed in a legal document). Heritage is so much more than that. Even an inheritance is not necessarily a bequest - one may inherit property as dictated by state law in contradiction to a decedent's will.
    – Aaron Hall
    May 23, 2016 at 15:10
  • @AaronHall Well. Despite what you want me to want, it answers the general intention (remember, the text of the question is the question), and anyway the definition is included to make it unambiguous. So if you want to get pedantic, then it's still what I asked for. May 24, 2016 at 14:02
  • Yeah, you had a messed up definition of heritage that you didn't even bother to look up.
    – Aaron Hall
    May 24, 2016 at 14:09

"Something left by the subject to be inherited by someone else" is called the estate, especially in legal documents.

E.g. The late Mrs A's house is part of her estate

  • I thought it meant something more akin to "property", or land based property as in real estate. May 20, 2016 at 14:22
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    @leinaD_natipaC: That's another, separate meaning.
    – MSalters
    May 20, 2016 at 14:30
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    I believe the estate of someone deceased consists of all of the property of that person, to be divvied up according to their will, prevailing law, etc...it's not precisely an antonym, as it initially includes the inheritances of all parties, but it is probably the most useful word among the answers here, since, you could say "Her daughter X inherited the family business, while the remainder of the estate was given to charity"; it does give you an easy way to discuss the portion of someone's estate not inherited by a specific person. May 20, 2016 at 21:02


  • Heritage is essentially the non-portable parts of one's legacy (land, buildings, etc)

  • Chattels refers to the portable goods and money.

I'm not sure how non-physical assets such as heritable titles or intellectual property are classified.

  • 3
    Chattels are movable (and alienable) property in general, with no implication of legacy. May 19, 2016 at 20:33
  • Consider the phrase: "My heritage is ..." -- Heritage also includes such intangibles as birthright (for instance titles of nobility) and family history (the legend of great grandpappy's moonshine business). It also includes ethnic history or pride (Anglo, Jewish, Black, etc). Since it is possible in to give away or sell one's birthright, some parts of heritage are also "portable" (or more correctly "transferable") and in other cases (like naratives) replicable.
    – O.M.Y.
    May 21, 2016 at 15:59

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