Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

Legal Dictionary Home

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Lawyer

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small
Latin for "first born." Feudal England (and many other places) practiced male primogeniture, the practice of giving the oldest son the entire estate of his parents (or nearest ancestor). If there was no male heir, the daughters inherited the property in equal shares.The intent was to preserve large properties from being broken up into small holdings, which might weaken the power of nobles.