Home > P Words > primogeniture


Definition of Primogeniture

(noun) The custom or law granting inheritance of a family estate and titles to the first born or eldest child.

Example of Primogeniture

Primogeniture Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: pri·mo·gen·i·ture

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /prie-moh-jEn-uh-chur/
  • British English – /prie-moh-jE-ni-chuh/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English: /ˌpɹaɪmoˈdʒɛnəˌtʃʊr/
  • British English: /ˌpɹaɪməʊˈdʒenɪtʃə/

Usage Notes

  • There is vast array of rule variation relating to primogeniture across societies and cultures and the reasons for its use. The primary reason however, is to maintain and consolidate a family’s money and property and therefore their power and influence.
  • Primogeniture inheritance regardless of sex is called cognatic primogeniture, if only a male can inherit it is called patrilineal primogeniture, and if only females can inherit it is called matrilineal primogeniture.
  • Ultimogeniture is the opposite of primogeniture and in contrast, partible inheritance is when inheritance is divided more or less equally among heirs.
  • Secundogeniture refers to inheritance granted to the second oldest child and tertiogeniture refers to inheritance granted to the third oldest child.
  • A type of inheritance.
  • Also called right of primogeniture.
  • The oldest child inherited the family farm because the (adjective) primogenital or (adjective) primogenitary rule.

Additional Information

Related Terms

Works Consulted

Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.

Farlex. (N.d.) TheFreeDictionary.com: Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Farlex. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Cite the Definition of Primogeniture

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “primogeniture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 28, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/primogeniture/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

primogeniture. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/primogeniture/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “primogeniture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/primogeniture/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“primogeniture.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 28 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/primogeniture/>.