• From Middle English erve, erfe, from Old English yrfe, ierfe, from Proto-West Germanic *arbī, from Proto-Germanic *arbiją, from Proto-Indo-European *h₃erbʰ- (whence also *h₃órbʰos).
  • Cognate with Dutch erf ("inheritance, patrimony, ground, courtyard"), German Erbe ("heritage, legacy, inheritance"), Danish arv ("heritage, inheritance"), Swedish arv ("heritage, inheritance"), Gothic 𐌰𐍂𐌱𐌹 ("inheritance"), Latin orbus ("orphan"), Ancient Greek ὀρφανός ("orphan"), Old English ierfa ("heir"). Related to orf and odal and athel.
  • Borrowed from obsolete Dutch erf. erf#Etymology_1 above.

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