from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The genetic transmission of characteristics from parent to offspring.
- n. The sum of characteristics and associated potentialities transmitted genetically to an individual organism.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Hereditary transmission of the physical and genetic qualities of parents to their offspring; the biological law by which living beings tend to repeat their characteristics in their descendants.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Hereditary transmission of the physical and psychical qualities of parents to their offspring; the biological law by which living beings tend to repeat their characteristics in their descendants. See pangenesis.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Hereditarydescent or transmission, as of physical or mental qualities; hereditary succession or influence.
- n. Specifically, in biology: The influence of parents upon offspring; transmission of qualities or characteristics, mental or physical, from parents to offspring. See atavism.
- n. The principle or fact of inheritance, or the transmission of physical and mental characteristics from parent to offspring, regarded as the conservative factor in evolution, opposing the tendency to variation under conditions of environment.
- n. Metaphorically, that which makes living beings inherit; the explanation or cause of the kinship or resemblance to ancestors which living beings exhibit, or the force or agent or principle that brings about this kinship or resemblance.
- n. Metaphorically, the substratum or support or bearer or giver or cause of inheritance: that which makes the offspring to be like its parents or ancestors. This meaning (which depends upon an uncritical use of the word substance, and upon the opinion that we account for inheritance by calling it heredity) leads to the belief that since resemblance to parents may be considered by itself, it therefore exists in nature separated from the individuality of living beings.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the total of inherited attributes
- n. the biological process whereby genetic factors are transmitted from one generation to the next
French hérédité, from Old French heredite, inheritance, from Latin hērēditās, from hērēs, hērēd-, heir; see ghē- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French hérédité, from Latin hērēditas ("condition of being an heir"), from hēres ("heir"). (Wiktionary)