The Hebrew verb ירש is loosely translated to mean "inherit," but does not quite mean the same thing as the English word inherit because the Hebrew verb refers to an heir inheriting his benefactor, while the English verb inherit refers to an heir inheriting property.

Meaning, with the Hebrew ירש, we might say: "A son ירש his father"; while in English we would say "A son inherits his father's property." In both cases, the subject of the sentence is the heir/inheritor, but in Hebrew the object of the sentence is the person from whom the heir inherits, while in English the object of the sentence is property that is being inherited.

My question is: in what other languages (besides Hebrew) is the object of the verb for "inheriting" the deceased person whose property is being inherited, as opposed to the actual property (like in English)?

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    German has both, with closely related words: Er erbt das Haus von seinem Vater "He inherits the house of his father* and Er beerbt seinen Vater "He inherits from his father". German speakers have the choice what sense they want to emphasise. Sep 28, 2022 at 14:27
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    In English the verb + preposition construction inherit from has this meaning.
    – jlawler
    Sep 28, 2022 at 15:35
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    Der Erbe beerbt seinen Vererber. Der Vererber vererbt an die Erben. Der Erbe erbt das Erbe. (Das Vermögen ist ererbt.) see Derived terms under en.wiktionary.org/wiki/erben#German
    – devio
    Sep 29, 2022 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


The Arabic cognate w-r-th ورث has both constructions: with direct object of a person (“inherit from someone”), or with a direct object of a thing (“inherit something”), or indeed with two direct objects (“inherit something from someone”).

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