primogeniture

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n primogeniture right of inheritance belongs exclusively to the eldest son
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Primogeniture (Eng. Law) The exclusive right of inheritance which belongs to the eldest son. Thus in England the right of inheriting the estate of the father belongs to the eldest son, and in the royal family the eldest son of the sovereign is entitled to the throne by primogeniture. In exceptional cases, among the female children, the crown descends by right of primogeniture to the eldest daughter only and her issue.
    • Primogeniture The state of being the firstborn of the same parents; seniority by birth among children of the same family.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n primogeniture The state of being the first-born among children of the same parents; seniority by birth.
    • n primogeniture Descent to the eldest son; the principle or right by which (under the Norman law introduced into England) the oldest son of a family succeeds to the father's real estate in preference to, and to the absolute exclusion of, the younger sons and daughters. The ancient customs of gavelkind and borough-English form exceptions to the general rule of law as to primogeniture. (See gavelkind and borough-English.) In the modified form of the law of primogeniture now existing in England, the law, if left to operate, carries the land of a person dying to male heirs singly, in succession preferring the eldest, but to female heirs equally in common, and carries personalty to wife and children with no preference for the eldest son.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Primogeniture state of being born first of the same parents:
    • Primogeniture (law) the right of the eldest son to inherit his father's estates
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
LL., fr. L. primus, first + genitura, a begetting, birth, generation, fr. genere, gignere, to beget: cf. F. primogéniture, L. primogenitus, firstborn. See Prime (a.), and Genus Kin
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. primo-genitus, first-born—primus, first, gignĕre, genitum, to beget.

Usage

In literature:

The crown is hereditary in the male line of the house of Hohenzollern, following the principle of primogeniture.
"The Governments of Europe" by Frederic Austin Ogg
The law of primogeniture is beset with evils and injustice; yet without it, the aristocracy of a country must sink into insignificance.
"Peter Simple" by Frederick Marryat
Virginia and Georgia changed their land laws, abolishing entails and primogeniture.
"History of the United States, Volume 2 (of 6)" by E. Benjamin Andrews
We need not hesitate to attribute the change to the influence of Primogeniture.
"Ancient Law" by Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
All that English economists contemplate is the abolition of primogeniture and entail.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 105, July 1866" by Various
Samuel Johnson thought the law of primogeniture a most excellent thing, since it insured there being only one fool in the family.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Vol. 13" by Elbert Hubbard
Wealth is a misfortune, primogeniture a relic of barbarism, celibacy a reprehensible practice.
"The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte" by William Milligan Sloane
Succession to these grants is governed by primogeniture.
"The Panjab, North-West Frontier Province, and Kashmir" by Sir James McCrone Douie
Because, in the first place, aristocracy is kept up by family tyranny and injustice, due to the unnatural and iniquitous law of primogeniture.
"The World's Greatest Books--Volume 14--Philosophy and Economics" by Various
It deprived the eldest son of nothing that would be his in accordance with the usual tenure of English primogeniture.
"Ralph the Heir" by Anthony Trollope
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In news:

They went by primogeniture — in a way the first-born child was sacrificed to the company.
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