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From Middle English heirlome (heirloom, literally a tool or article passed to one's heirs), equivalent to heir +‎ loom.



heirloom (plural heirlooms)

  1. A valued possession that has been passed down through the generations.
    Synonyms: patrimony
  2. A crop variety that has been passed down through generations of farmers by seed saving and cultivation.
    • 2009 August 19, Melissa Clark, “Plums Rescue a Seasonal Favorite”, in New York Times[1]:
      My last trip to the market barely yielded enough unmealy heirlooms for a couple of salads.
    • 2014 September 26, Charles Quest-Ritson, “The Dutch garden where tulip bulbs live forever: Hortus Bulborum, a volunteer-run Dutch garden, is dedicated to conserving historic varieties before they vanish for good [print version: Inspired by a living bulb archive, 27 September 2014, p. G5]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Gardening)[2]:
      At Hortus Bulborum you will find heirloom narcissi that date back at least to the 15th century and famous old tulips like 'Duc van Tol' (1595) and its sports.


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