Inherent vs inherit

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Inherent and inherit are two words with similar pronunciations and spellings, but mean two very different things. We’ll look at the difference between these two words, their meanings and origins, and some instances of their use in sentences.

Inherent means intrinsic, something that is an essential characteristic, a part of something that is inseparable from that thing. In legal terms inherent describes something that is an inalienable right or privilege. Inherent is an adjective, the adverb form is inherently, the noun form is inherence. The word inherent was first used in the 1570s, coming from the Latin word inhaerentem, which means to be closely connected to.

Inherit means to receive property such as cash, securities, property or a title at the death of the previous owner. One may inherit something by the means of a will, a trust, or succession. The word inherit is also used to describe a physical, psychological or moral attribute an offspring has gained from his genetics. Inherit is also used to describe receiving responsibility from a predecessor for a position, situation or problem. The word inherit first appeared in the 1300s, derived from the Old French word enheriter which means to appoint as heir. Inherit is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are inherits, inherited, inheriting, inheritance, inheritor, inheritress.


At this juncture, the case serves primarily as a cautionary tale of the difficulties inherent in challenging a congressional subpoena. (The National Law Review)

As an outsider, the challenger has an inherent advantage over the incumbent President or Prime Minister: unsaddled as he is with a record, the outsider happily sells — often, oversells — dreams, knowing full well that the voter would eventually feel short-changed. (The Chandigarh Tribune)

RESEARCH published in the blog Psychology Spot has confirmed what most mothers have suspected for a long time – it’s their intelligence, not our fathers, that we inherit. (The Daily Record)

When my father died and I inherited his house in Florida, the last thing on my mind was the status of his homeowners insurance policy. (Consumer Reports Magazine)