• WordNet 3.6
    • n heirloom something that has been in a family for generations
    • n heirloom (law) any property that is considered by law or custom as inseparable from an inheritance is inherited with that inheritance
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Heirloom Any furniture, movable, or personal chattel, which by law or special custom descends to the heir along with the inheritance; any piece of personal property that has been in a family for several generations. "Woe to him whose daring hand profanes
      The honored heirlooms of his ancestors."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n heirloom In English law, a personal chattel that, contrary to the nature of chattels, by special custom descends to an heir with the inheritance, being such a thing as cannot be separated from the estate without injury to it, as jewels of the crown, charters, deeds, and the like. The term is sometimes loosely applied to personal property left by will or settled so as to descend like an heirloom proper; such property is distinctively called an heirloom by devise or a quasi-heirloom.
    • n heirloom Hence Any personal possession that passes from generation to generation in a family or a community; any article or characteristic transmitted by ancestors.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Heirloom any piece of furniture or personal property which descends to the heir-at-law by special custom
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Heir, + loom, in its earlier sense of implementtool. See Loom the frame
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. heir—L. hēres, an heir.


In literature:

Steeping coffee in American homes (an English heirloom) is usually performed in a china or earthenware jug.
"All About Coffee" by William H. Ukers
There was much confusion in the old house, putting fine things and ornaments away and packing family heirlooms and silver.
"A Little Girl in Old Philadelphia" by Amanda Minnie Douglas
As a matter of fact dolls form a very important part of the heirlooms of every Japanese family of any importance.
"The Empire of the East" by H. B. Montgomery
These were called "candle cups," and are much prized heirlooms in more than one old family.
"Social Life" by Maud C. Cooke
It has been an heirloom in my family for many years.
"The Ivory Snuff Box" by Arnold Fredericks
Both of these are heirlooms of the See of Ripon.
"The Strand Magazine, Volume V, Issue 25, January 1893" by Various
They are heirlooms among the peasants, and are worn on the middle finger.
"The Galaxy" by Various
This worried him, especially those heirloom bits containing Humboldt Bennett's name.
"The Land of Look Behind" by Paul Cameron Brown
I possessed several good pictures, dear and old heirlooms belonging to my family.
"Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 2, No. 12, May, 1851." by Various
Remember that a first consul is in no respect like these kings by the grace of God, who look on their kingdoms as heirlooms.
"The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte" by William Milligan Sloane
The timepiece had once belonged to Mr. Lincoln, and to the young auctioneer it was a valuable heirloom.
"Young Auctioneers" by Edward Stratemeyer
Her daughter took me up to her big room furnished with old mahogany heirlooms that made me feel as though I were in New England.
"The Wide Awake Girls in Winsted" by Katharine Ellis Barrett
Why, it will be the most valuable heirloom in your family, years from now.
"The Boy Scouts in the Maine Woods" by Herbert Carter
These two pieces of jewelry might be heirlooms that any young girl could wear with taste at her "coming out" party.
"Frances of the Ranges" by Amy Bell Marlowe
It was a family heirloom, heavy, black and deadly.
"Turning Point" by Alfred Coppel
A sort of heirloom, I suppose?
"The Riddle of the Spinning Wheel" by Mary E. Hanshew
Though Kailas Babu, as I have said, had lost all his landed property, he had still some family heirlooms left.
"Stories from Tagore" by Rabindranath Tagore
Clocks, mirrors, pictures, andirons, and fire-set are family heirlooms.
"Remodeled Farmhouses" by Mary H. Northend
He had noted more than one reference to the chain with a coin attached, and an almost historical heirloom which he had given her at parting.
"Nevermore" by Rolf Boldrewood
As Walter went down, he made a clutch at the man's watch-chain, or rather the chain which belonged among the Russell heirlooms.
"Fighting in Cuban Waters" by Edward Stratemeyer

In poetry:

"He had his share of care and pain,
No holiday was life to him;
Still in the heirloom cup we drain
The bitter drop will swim.
"My Namesake" by John Greenleaf Whittier
He marks them bronzed, in soldier-trim,
The rifle proudly borne;
They bear it for an heirloom home,
And he--disarmed--jail-worn.
"The Released Rebel Prisoner" by Herman Melville
The mahogany table-top you smashed
Had been the broad plank top
Of my mother's heirloom sideboard-
Mapped with the scars of my whole life.
"The Minotaur" by Ted Hughes
Freedom he found an heirloom from his sires;
Song, letters, statecraft, shared his years in turn;
All went to feed the nation's altar-fires
Whose mourning children wreathe his funeral urn.
"James Russell Lowell" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
The poorest scrap from memory's ragged lap
Comes like an heirloom from a dear dead mother--
Hush! there's a tear that has no business here,
A half-formed sigh that ere its birth we smother.
"How To Not Settle It" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Who--who that has loved it so long and so well--
The flower of his birthright would barter or sell?
No: pride of the bay, while its ripples shall run,
You shall pass, as an heirloom, from father to son!
"For The Centennial Dinner" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

In news:

No wonder heirlooms have become so popular in the past decade.
The difference between heirloom tomatoes and the common red tomato, a hybrid, is that heirlooms haven't been genetically crossed as hybrids have.
This production process is good for commercial growers, but it is causing many smaller growers to reach back for the tomatoes they grew up with, which are the heirlooms .
Melanie Huddleston wore a family heirloom dress to celebrate her first birthday on Friday, Aug 3.
Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salsa.
Take a shot at what's happening in this photo, ' Heirloom Tomatoes'.
Today's photo, " Heirloom Tomatoes," comes courtesy of Eric Tank.
Fresh Market will carry Pete & Gerry's Heirloom Eggs.
Heirloom Eggs ( July 6, 2012 ).
Fresh Market stores will now be carrying Pete & Gerry's Heirloom Eggs.
A Look At Heirloom Tomatoes.
However, Gray noted that telling the heirloom story in the produce department actually shifts the conversation away from cost.
The South's produce heirloom .
Available in a wealth of sizes and colors—yellow, orange, zebra striped— heirloom tomatoes are one of the glories of summer.
6-8 very ripe heirloom tomatoes, in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.