When a child inherits something from their parent, we say that the child Inherited that something. That's the child's perspective.

What is the word from the parent's perspective?

I've thought of bestow upon, or to transfer something, or to have something inherited by, but none of those convey the exact meaning - except for the last one of course, but that's way too cumbersome.

Note that I'm thinking of the general form of inheritance, as could be used, for example, in Object-Oriented programming; not necessarily limited to any biological children and parents, although answers specific to that situation are most welcome.

  • 1
    'Pass on' seems the most idiomatic. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 11:58

6 Answers 6


I think you want "bequeath." It's not commonly used, but it means, "to pass on (property, etc.) to a beneficiary." As in,

(From Oxford English Dictionary, "bequeath" 4.)

"To make a formal assignation of (property of which one is possessed) to anyone...b. so as to pass to the recipient after one's death: To 'leave' by will."

Use: [property] is bequeathed to [person/organization] e.g. "Her entire fortune was bequeathed to her cats."

  • That sounds much better than grant
    – rath
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 11:52
  • 'Bequeath' would sound very strange / quirky used of say blue eyes. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 11:57
  • Yes, but I don't see a better option for inheritance, including genetics, except "pass down." (Not that there's anything wrong with "pass down," as long as OP will accept a phrasal verb too).
    – Iolite_Jay
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 12:13
  • Of course, the word is more commonly used in the noun form "bequest".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 13:09
  • Nothing wrong with phrasal verbs :)
    – rath
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 15:04

In scientific writing, genes and traits, both genetic and cultural, are transmitted to those that inherit them.

The gene for red–green color blindness is transmitted from a color blind male to all his daughters who are heterozygote carriers and are usually unaffected.

A genetic trait can also be passed from parent to child:

Red/green colour blindness is passed from mother to son on the 23rd chromosome, which is known as the sex chromosome because it also determines sex.

Or passed down:

Congenital color blindness is usually inherited as a genetic trait passed down from mother to son.

Treasured objects and family lore may also be passed down over several generations, but only real objects are usually said to be inherited.

If you inherit tangible property from your grandmother, it is because she bequeathed it to you, made a bequest, willed it to you, or left it to you [in her will].

[S]he left a small five stone gold mother's ring to my mother-in-law as one of the few items in her estate.


I would tend to use the verb will:

2 a : to dispose of by or as if by a will : bequeath

willed his entire estate to his son

b : to order or direct by a will

willed that her property be divided among her children

I thought of another one a few minutes after posting this. I'll add as an answer as it seems correct, unless proven otherwise by the number of downvotes!

grant might work:

to transfer or convey, especially by deed or writing: to grant property.


Bequeath is probably the best answer in terms of biological parents & children, but it doesn't really work in a situation like Object-Oriented Programming. The term that seems to work well in both situations is pass down.


"Bequeath" is the legal-jargon term; "give" or "leave" is the ordinary verb. Even legal documents, though (where they must get paid by the word!) say "give and bequeath". It's a holdover from the days when lawyers wanted to be sure beyond a doubt that nobody misunderstood what they meant -- so they would use both the Latinate and the common everyday terminology.

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