Difference Between Heredity and Hereditary

Heredity vs Hereditary

When we see a son looking and behaving almost like his father or siblings looking alike, we tend to say that it is because of heredity. The science that studies this effect by which characteristics, physical features, and even diseases are passed down generations is called genetics while common people refer to this phenomenon as heredity only. There is another word hereditary that many people use when they should use heredity. They think that the two words are synonymous, or the same, and they use them interchangeably. However, there are differences between heredity and hereditary that will be talked about in this article.


The sum of all biological processes that cause transmission of traits from one generation to another is termed as heredity. The word is a noun as it refers to the phenomenon that is responsible behind this showing up of traits or physical features found in the older generation into the new generation. It is through heredity that all of us living beings inherit characteristics or traits from our parents and other ancestors. It is no surprise that we resemble our parents when it comes to skin tone, hair color, texture, eye color, nose, and other facial features. Take a look at the following sentences to understand how to use the word in English language.

• Baldness is believed by many to be a result of heredity.

• Heredity decides the color of the eyes of a newborn.

• Scientists explain heredity with the help of genes and their combinations.


Hereditary is a word that pertains to heredity. Thus, we call a disease as being a hereditary when there is evidence to suggest that it is transmitted by parents to their offspring. Hereditary is a modification of the word heredity to describe something that is a result of heredity. There are many diseases that are believed to be hereditary in nature. There was a time when breast cancer in women was thought of as a dreaded disease that was hereditary, and girls feared they would develop symptoms of the disease when they had a close relative with breast cancer in their family. Pancreatic cancer is another disease that is believed to be hereditary as recent research suggests it runs in families. Take a look at the following sentences to know how to use the word hereditary.

• There are many types of arthritis and thankfully most of them are not hereditary in nature.

• Recent research suggests there is little or no evidence to suggest breast cancer is a hereditary disease.

Heredity vs Hereditary

• Heredity is the process that decides the passing down of traits from the older generation to new generations, whereas hereditary is a word that indicates something that shows this process.

• Of heredity or pertaining to heredity are phrases that best describe hereditary.

• Heredity runs into families and decides the color of eyes, color of hair, skin, and texture of hair, in addition to many other physical traits.

• In other words, the color of eyes, color of hair, skin, and texture of hair, in addition to many other physical traits, are hereditary in nature.

• Heredity is a noun, whereas hereditary is an adjective.