heirloom

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

heirloom (plural heirlooms)

  1. A valued possession that has been passed down through the generations.
    Synonym: patrimony
  2. (horticulture) An old crop variety that has been passed down through generations of farmers by seed saving and cultivation, in contrast to modern cultivars used in large-scale agriculture.
    • 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.
    • 2017 January 26, Nick Visser, “Scientists Say Something Is Very Wrong With The Tomato”, in Huffpost[3]:
      In a paper published Thursday in the journal Science, a team of researchers say they analyzed the genetic code of nearly 400 varieties of tomatoes ― from the common red supermarket types to the funky heirlooms found in farmers markets.

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