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Heritage vs Inheritance vs Patrimony vs Birthright

Heritage, inheritancepatrimonybirthright denote something which one receives or is entitled to receive by succession (as from a parent or predecessor).

Heritage is the most widely applicable of these words, for it may apply to anything (as a tradition, a right, a trade, or the effect of a cause) that is passed on not only to one’s heir or heirs but to the generation or generations that succeed.

Inheritance applies to what passes from parent to children, whether it be money, property, or traits of character, but the term may be used in place of heritage when such descent is implied. Inheritance, but not heritage, may also apply to the fact of inheriting or to the means by which something passes into one’s possession.

Patrimony applies basically to the money or property inherited from one’s father, but is also used in the more general sense of ancestral inheritance.

Birthright is now more often used in its extended sense (see RIGHT ) than in its original sense of the property, goods, privileges, or rank which belong to one by reason of one’s birth. But in this sense birthright is often more specific than inheritance, because it usually applies only to what belongs to the firstborn son by the law of primogeniture.