heirloom

An heirloom is something passed down in a family for generations. Your grandma's prized necklace could be an heirloom.

If you know that an heir is a younger person in a family who will inherit things when relatives die, you have a clue to the meaning of heirloom. An heirloom is a special thing that's handed down, sometimes through a will, but often just from person to person. A portrait of an ancestor could be an heirloom. Many families pass down heirloom jewelry. If you hear someone say, "This belonged to my great-great-grandfather" they're probably talking about an heirloom.

Definitions of heirloom
  1. noun
    something that has been in a family for generations
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    type of:
    heritage, inheritance
    that which is inherited; a title or property or estate that passes by law to the heir on the death of the owner
  2. noun
    (law) any property that is considered by law or custom as inseparable from an inheritance is inherited with that inheritance
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    type of:
    belongings, holding, property
    something owned; any tangible or intangible possession that is owned by someone
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