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From French, from Late Latin primogenitura, from Latin primus (first) + genitura (birth) (from genitus, past participle of gignere).


primogeniture (countable and uncountable, plural primogenitures)

  1. The state of being the firstborn of the children of the same parents.
  2. The principle that the eldest child has an exclusive right of inheritance.
    • 1835, Timothy Winterbottom, A Letter to Isaac Tomkins and Peter Jenkins on Primogeniture, 5th Edition, page 7,
      On these grounds, I contend the mere possession of large property, which is all that primogeniture insures, is by no means a sufficient and unobjectionable qualification for a legislator.
    • 2003, Robert Lacey, Danny Danziger, The Year 1000: What life was like at the turn of The First Millennium,
      Anglo-Saxon kings did not succeed on the basis of primogeniture. All the kings offspring were known as aethelings -- throneworthy -- and from this gene pool the royal family would select the aetheling who seemed best qualified for the job.
    • 2011, Zouheir Jamoussi, Primogeniture and Entail in England: A Survey of Their History and Representation in Literature, page 10,
      Primogeniture acting as a law of inheritance in the case of intestacy applied in fact to all real property, however humble. Movables and personal property in this context were subject to equal division, the elder son inheriting all real property as well as his share of the personal property.
  3. (countable) An instance of such a right of inheritance, established by custom or law.
    • 1818, The Annual Register for the Year 1817, Volume 59, page 142,
      The King of Sardinia, by a decree of the 9th of Dec. has abolished—
      1. The prohibition against the erection of primogenitures and feudal rights, enacted by the 9th section of the edict of the 29th of July 1797, or by any other law; restricting, however, to those primogenitures and majorats only which shall be erected in favour of persons [] .
    • 1860, American State Papers, page 704,
      All primogenitures, trusts, rights of presentation, and every other description of entail on real property, movables, or fixtures, rents, annuities, seigneuries, or of any other kind whatsoever, are suppressed, which are from henceforward restored to the class of absolutely free.
    • 1906, John Sergeant Wise, A Treatise on American Citizenship, 1997, page 95,
      The American system of land tenures, the abolition of entails and primogenitures, and our methods of transfer of real estate, are all anti-English in their origin.


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primogeniture f

  1. plural of primogenitura