Definition of heredity in English:


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  • 1The passing on of physical or mental characteristics genetically from one generation to another.

    ‘few scientists dispute that heredity can create a susceptibility to alcoholism’
    • ‘Long before we knew anything about the physical basis of heredity, factors or genes were identified in terms of their functional or phenotypic effects.’
    • ‘So, thousands of years before Gregor Mendel postulated his theories on genetics and heredity, indigenous Americans were breeding corn to select for desirable traits.’
    • ‘By the age of nineteen, in 1909, Muller had already become committed to genetics and to the chromosome theory of heredity.’
    • ‘Moreover, Watson is among the many geneticists who see heredity as the source of most social problems and who believe the solutions are to be found in genetic research.’
    • ‘On the one hand, his excursions into the mechanics of heredity and population genetics provide a valuable background for his rejection of racial and eugenic theories.’
    • ‘Indeed, it formed the basis for the Mendelian chromosome theory of heredity and ultimately the theory of the gene.’
    • ‘Genes are the physical units of heredity and are located along each chromosome in the cells of the human body.’
    • ‘At one extreme, advocates of nature contend that intelligence is a function of heredity of genetics; you are either smart or not.’
    • ‘As the ultimate failed father, David Banner exemplifies the personification of heredity, of the passing down of not only mental and physical but even genetic imprints from father to child.’
    • ‘Billed as ‘an animated primer on the basics of DNA, genes, and heredity,’ the site is also a wonderful place to learn about the men and women who made the key discoveries.’
    • ‘The units of heredity, or genes, are DNA sequences that code for the synthesis of proteins.’
    • ‘Fertilization therefore results in an egg carrying a nucleus with contributions from both parents, and it was concluded that the cell nucleus must contain the physical basis of heredity.’
    • ‘Their biology teacher has just given them an assignment about genes and heredity, expecting them to pass a five-page term paper by Wednesday.’
    • ‘In black rats, resistance was supposed to be multifactorial, judging from its unstable heredity.’
    • ‘For decades now, psychologists and geneticists alike have thought of heredity and environment as interactive - hence, the title of this article.’
    • ‘These two ardent atheists are being honored this year on the 50th anniversary of their discovery of the double helix structure of the molecule of heredity, DNA.’
    • ‘At the time of your birth, in 1946, the scientific community was not yet generally aware that our heredity is stored in sequences of ‘letters’ within the chemical called DNA.’
    • ‘Rollin's delightful playfulness came out often in the most serious contexts, and I cannot resist describing something he said at the 1963 symposium on the control of human heredity.’
    • ‘When asked about the role of heredity in the Wyeth-Hurd family, Michael believes strongly that it plays an unquestionably vital part in producing artists.’
    • ‘According to Doctor Robert Mtonga, a health practitioner, obesity can come as a result of nutritional habits or in some cases it is due to heredity in families.’
    congenital characteristics, congenital traits, genetics, genetic make-up, genes
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    1. 1.1A person's ancestry.
      ‘he wears a Cossack tunic to emphasize his Russian heredity’
      • ‘The manner in which someone ages depends almost entirely on factors relating to heredity, physical and mental health, and nutrition.’
      • ‘If the development of a certain disease is due to heredity, then genetic researchers would expect more of the identical twins to share the disease as compared to the same-sex fraternal twins.’
      • ‘No studies on the respective roles of heredity and environment on the chemotype expression were performed.’
      • ‘That's the implication from one of the largest ever studies comparing the influence of environment and heredity on cancer incidence.’
      • ‘Many other factors can lead to and exacerbate health problems, including heredity, family eating habits and a lack of exercise, he said.’
      • ‘Some of the factors influencing heart disease are high fat diets, cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, stress, not controlling diabetes or high blood pressure, obesity and heredity.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, relative influences of heredity and environment on many behaviors remain obscure.’
      • ‘The argument for heredity having a relatively strong influence on this disease rests primarily in studies involving families, adoptees and twins.’
      • ‘Bone loss from the osteoporotic condition can result in a healthy population for a variety of reasons, including insufficient dietary intake, pollutants, toxins, menopause, lack of physical activity and heredity.’
      • ‘The individual human becomes an ethical person by means of two primary mechanisms: heredity and environmental influences.’
      • ‘Peak bone density is heavily influenced by heredity, nutrition, hormonal effects, and environment.’
      • ‘Data mining capabilities will allow physicians to study the effects of environment, heredity and lifestyle on breast cancer.’
      • ‘I do not pretend to know why the documentation of unbroken heredity through generations of forebears brings us so swiftly to tears and to such a secure sense of rightness, definition, membership, and meaning.’
      • ‘He did something about it: knowing that he could not change his heredity and genes, he transformed his lifestyle instead.’
      • ‘He said that while there are a few indigenous reasons like genes, heredity etc for obesity, there are more exogenous reasons for the problem.’
      • ‘And all questioned whether it was one thing or many, produced by heredity or environment, and shared with animals or uniquely human.’
      • ‘Boyishly reared by an emancipated mother and a suicidal father, she is the victim of heredity, environment and her own anachronistic position as an outsider in the new socialist England.’
      • ‘Presumably, it is partially influenced by heredity.’
      • ‘Individual natal astrology constitutes the third division where, like Ptolemy, al-Biruni was fully aware that considerations of heredity and environment should modify any astrological indications.’
      • ‘Energy expenditure is influenced by heredity; age; sex; body size; fat-free mass; and the intensity, frequency, and duration of exercise.’
      ancestors, forebears, forefathers, progenitors, antecedents
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  • 2The inheritance of a title, office, or right.

    ‘membership is largely based on heredity’
    • ‘There is no longer venality or heredity of public office.’
    • ‘Power in the Mamluk realm was not based on heredity.’
    • ‘Neither could have inherited by heredity alone, since it was not clear that a woman was allowed to succeed, and both were illegitimate under English law.’
    • ‘If our patriotism is refracted through a system based on hierarchy and heredity, it affects the way we see our country in subtle ways.’
    • ‘And yet, the introduction of pluralistic democracy itself is a clear break with the past - a break from systems in which rights over others are based on gender, class, tribal affiliation or heredity.’
    • ‘His view is simple: all real power must stay in the Commons - a laudable idea when the second chamber is a mix of heredity and appointment, but indefensible where it is democratically elected.’
    • ‘The social position of each individual is fixed by heredity and not by personal qualifications and material considerations.’
    • ‘Under these arrangements, the king received money in return for granting tenure, heredity, and free disposal of their offices to his judges and other servants.’
    • ‘Strictly, a scion in terms of human heredity is the descendant of a noble or storied lineage, whereas what is significant about the subject of the article is the specific circumstance of her conception.’
    • ‘In the highly traditional society which existed in medieval England, a society bound by ties of blood and heredity, wealth and landholding alone were not enough to make a man noble - at least in the eyes of his contemporaries.’
    • ‘But this doctrine that souls are acquired by heredity carried more physical implications than at least some Platonists could feel at ease with.’



/həˈredədē/ /həˈrɛdədi/


Mid 16th century from French hérédité, from Latin hereditas ‘heirship’, from heres, hered- ‘heir’.