What is the difference in meaning and/or usage between the words “heir”, “heritor” and “inheritor”?

Are they interchangeable synonyms or are there situations where some either don't apply or are preferable to use?

Related question with some information: https://hinative.com/en-US/questions/432460.

Definition of “heir”:

 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.

Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/heir.

1  A person legally entitled to the property or rank of another on that person's death.

   1.1  A person inheriting and continuing the legacy of a predecessor.

Source: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/heir.

1  : one who receives property from an ancestor : one who is entitled to inherit property

2  : one who inherits or is entitled to succeed to a hereditary rank, title, or office

3  : one who receives or is entitled to receive something other than property from a parent or predecessor
transitive verb
chiefly dialectal

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heir.

Definition of “heritor”:

 1  inheritor.

Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/heritor.

   A person who inherits.

Source: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/heritor.

: one that inherits : INHERITOR

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heritor.

Definition of “inheritor”:

 1  a person who inherits; heir.

Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/inheritor.

   A person who inherits something; an heir.

Source: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/inheritor.

1 Answer 1


You can be the heir to someone who is still alive, if you are expected to inherit their property or title. A Crown Prince is heir to the throne.

An inheritor is someone who has actually inherited something, whether literal or metaphorical (inheritors of a tradition). Heritor is an unusual variant of the same word.

  • That seems to clear most of my confusion, thank you. I will leave your answer accepted unless another comes up that I deem more appropriate. Apr 29, 2020 at 14:26

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