birthright

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n birthright personal characteristics that are inherited at birth
    • n birthright a right or privilege that you are entitled to at birth "free public education is the birthright of every American child"
    • n birthright an inheritance coming by right of birth (especially by primogeniture)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Birthright Any right, privilege, or possession to which a person is entitled by birth, such as an estate descendible by law to an heir, or civil liberty under a free constitution; esp. the rights or inheritance of the first born. "Lest there be any . . . profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright ."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n birthright Any right or privilege to which a person is entitled by birth, such as an estate descendible by law to an heir, or civil liberty under a free constitution; specifically, the right of primogeniture.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Birthright the right or privilege to which one is entitled by birth: native rights
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Quotations

  • James Russell Lowell
    James%20Russell%20Lowell
    “They talk about their Pilgrim blood, their birthright high and holy! a mountain-stream that ends in mud thinks is melancholy.”

Idioms

Sell your birthright for a mess of pottage - If a person sells their birthright for a mess of pottage, they accept some trivial financial or other gain, but lose something much more important. 'Sell your soul for a mess of pottage' is an alternative form.
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
M. E. birÞe, prob. Scand.; cf. Goth, ga-baurÞs, Ger. ge-burt.

Usage

In literature:

Even the newly created species condescends to swap her birthright for a coronet.
"The Opinions of a Philosopher" by Robert Grant
Had he not a birthright in every stone of it, from pavement to loftiest pinnacle?
"One Wonderful Night" by Louis Tracy
Like Esau, he had sold his birthright; and there was no longer any place for repentance.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4" by Various
Evil and ominous of more evil are whatever facts deprive woman of this her birthright.
"Woman and Womanhood" by C. W. Saleeby
It retains as its birthright a certain nameless innocence, unknown in the polished French circles a few leagues beyond.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 97, November, 1865" by Various
The birthright of contentment.
"The Handy Cyclopedia of Things Worth Knowing" by Joseph Triemens
As he said, 'The one idea of my life was to tell Esau that he has a birthright as well as Jacob'.
"Victorian Worthies" by George Henry Blore
She was merely to share with him the freedom that was his as a birthright of his sex.
"The Triflers" by Frederick Orin Bartlett
All who watch and study and understand may agree that it is the gift of its birthright.
"The Family and it's Members" by Anna Garlin Spencer
I see her looking back over her chequered life, and pining to know her birthright.
"An Outcast" by F. Colburn Adams
Wars were then commenced, and the Indians were soon dispossessed of the soil which was theirs by their birthright.
"Traditions of the North American Indians, Vol. 2 (of 3)" by James Athearn Jones
Or a birthright in 'em?
"Major Vigoureux" by A. T. Quiller-Couch
Perhaps Esau has been too severely blamed for selling his birthright for a mess of pottage.
"The Promised Land" by Mary Antin
Happy Jill, it was her birthright to charm!
"Betty Trevor" by Mrs. G. de Horne Vaizey
Success is my birthright.
"Pushing to the Front" by Orison Swett Marden
I know you, and who you are; you stand between me and my birthright; you shall not foil me again.
"Ronald Morton, or the Fire Ships" by W.H.G. Kingston
William, the eldest of the boys, was, as it were, by birthright, the first to fall a victim to his father's temper.
"The King's Own" by Captain Frederick Marryat
The reward of his abstinence was his brother's birthright.
"Usury" by Calvin Elliott
They are the property, and the copyright, and the birthright of woman.
"The Dictator" by Justin McCarthy
His birthright sold for a mess of meat.
"Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners" by B.G. Jefferis
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In poetry:

And that the hidden faith in her
May burst in soaring flame:
With childhood deeper, holier,
Is birthright not the same?
"The Syrophenician Woman" by George MacDonald
He were no lord of righteousness
Who subjects such would gain
As yield their birthright for a mess
Of liberty from pain!
"The Disciple" by George MacDonald
Their birthright now they claim,
Free from the master's rod;
And now—in Freedom's sacred name—
They worship only God.
"Hymn, On The Celebration Of The Freedom Of The West Indies" by Benjamin Cutler Clark
Unto seventy years and seven,
Hide your double birthright well-
You, that are the brat of Heaven
And the pampered heir to Hell.
"For A Lady Who Must Write Verse" by Dorothy Parker
"Ill served his tides of feeling strong
To turn the common mills of use;
And, over restless wings of song,
His birthright garb hung loose!
"My Namesake" by John Greenleaf Whittier
That is a birthright nobler far
Than princely claim or Right Divine
From far-off rapine, wanton war,
And I could feel this birthright mine.
"The Door Of Humility" by Alfred Austin

In news:

Paul and Vitter Introduce Birthright Citizenship Resolution.
Which countries grant birthright citizenship.
Can states win fight against ' birthright citizenship'.
Several state lawmakers want to make ' birthright citizenship' – the guarantee that all children born in the US are citizens – the next front against illegal immigration.
Steve King Moves Forward on Bill to End Birthright Citizenship.
Republican Rep Steve King of Iowa, a leading conservative voice on immigration issues, introduced a bill on Wednesday to end the practice of birthright citizenship.
Is it time to reconsider birthright citizenship.
There is nothing sacred about American birthright citizenship.
State Lawmakers Outline Plans to End Birthright Citizenship, Drawing Outcry.
14 States may Target Birthright Citizenship.
Russians have luck, we have birthright .
French strike to save ' birthright ' of benefits.
Repealing Birthright Citizenship Is a Mistake America Can't Afford to Make.
Republicans are ramping up the birthright battle.
1993 flip-flop: Sen Reid introduced bill 'clarifying' birthright citizenship.
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In science:

Another view expressed at the meeting7 is that to avoid the Pomeron is to deny our birthright.
Summary Talk: First Workshop on Forward Physics and Luminosity Determination at the LHC
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