Heir vs Air – Difference Between Heir and Air

Heir and air are both pronounced as air but they have different meanings and significances. Both the words are completely different and hence can neither be used as synonyms and antonyms of each other. Because of their same pronunciation, the spelling of both words creates confusion, especially because the “h” in heir is silent.

Heir vs Air

The main difference between heir and air is that heir refers to a person who mainly inherits property, legacy, or reputation of a demised person (mainly a family member). On the other hand, the air is a mixture of various gases that cannot be seen with our naked eyes but it occupies the space around us.

Heir and Air

Many times, we observe that in a company when the owner dies, his/her next of kin becomes the new owner of the company. This process is known as inheritance and the person who inherits the position of the property is known as heir or heiress. Though family members become heirs, there can be exceptions as well.

Air is mainly composed of invisible gaseous particles that are present everywhere on Earth (atmosphere). The major gases present in our atmosphere are oxygen and nitrogen. When air is present inside any container of a specific volume, it takes up the entire space inside the container. Pollutants in the air can be checked using a diffusion tube.

Comparison Table Between Heir and Air

Parameters of ComparisonHeirAir
MeaningHeir (female heiress) is also called successor refers to a person who inherits rank or property after the death of a person.Air mainly refers to the gaseous mixture that is present in our atmosphere but sometimes it is also used to express the manner of a person.
EtymologyThe word “heir” became popular in 1300 from Old French and Anglo-French. It also has roots in the Latin language from the word heres.The word “air” has origin in several languages like Latin, Old French, Greek, and Middle English.
PronunciationWhile pronouncing heir the “h” is silent and it sounds like “euh.”In American English, the pronunciation of the word is the same as the spelling but in British English, it is pronounced as “aer.”
NounThe word heir is used as a noun in a sentence that refers to the position of the person most in a family.In noun form, the air is expressed as the gaseous mixture present everywhere in our environment.
VerbThe verb form of heir is not very common and instead the word “inherited” or “inheriting” is used.In verb form, the word air is used to express any opinion or news publicly.
ExampleHis adopted daughter became the heir to his massive empire.Air pollution causes asthma, especially among children.

What is Heir?

An heir is a person who is legally entitled to the property of another person who passes away without making any amendments to his/her will. For example, if a person when alive makes changes in the will and gives the entire property to someone then the new owner cannot be called an heir because he is not inheriting the property. On the other hand, if a person suddenly dies without making any will then the entire property goes to the next of kin (heir) legally. An heir is mainly a person from the family (son, daughter, or grandchildren).

Spouses are not considered heirs because they mainly get entitled to a certain property using marital property laws. But if a new will is made where a spouse is made the owner then it is different from inheriting through family line (heir). When the property is distributed among multiple heirs, they are summoned in front of a probate court for the final decision.

The property that is inherited by an heir not only includes land or house but also cash, stocks, bonds, antiques, etc. In the process of inheriting property, a presumptive heir can also be present whose right decreases if someone closer to the deceased person is discovered.

What is Air?

For most species on Earth (except certain types of bacteria), the air is very essential for survival. Oxygen is the second major component of air that we need for respiration and purifying the blood. The composition of the air that is around us contains nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and some other inert gases. 99% of air is made up of nitrogen and oxygen and other gases comprise the rest 1%. We, human beings, and other animals inhale the air for oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide that is taken up by the plants for photosynthesis.

Apart from the gases, many other particles are also present in the air. For example, smoke from chimneys and vehicles mixes up with the air and causes several respiratory problems. Aerosols are also present in the air that diffuses with clouds and sometimes moves to the higher level of the atmosphere and turns into ice. Water also enters the air in form of water vapor and it is also one of the most common gases that are emitted from volcanoes.

Smog is also related to air that contributes towards air pollution. Smog is a combination of smoke and fog that creates dust clouds. Excess carbon dioxide and methane in the air causing global warming.

Main Differences Between Heir and Air

  1. Heir refers to a person who inherits rank or property whereas air is a mixture of gases that surrounds our atmosphere.
  2. Heir is pronounced in the same way in both British and American English whereas air is pronounced in a different way in British and American English.
  3. Heir is common in the English language as a noun whereas air can be used both as a noun and a verb.
  4. Heir is not used to expressing any quality of a person whereas air (as a verb) is used to express the quality of a person.
  5. The most common synonyms of the heir are successor and inheritor whereas ambiance, mood, and quality are some synonyms of air.


There are several pairs of words in the English language that have the same pronunciation but different spelling and meanings. For example, no and know have the same pronunciation but different meanings. These types of words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings, origin, spellings, and implications are known as homophones. It is a very interesting part of the language and sometimes there can be more than just a pair of a word that sounds the same. For example, rain, reign, and rein have different meanings but these three words have the same pronunciation.


  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/clqv74&section=33
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/265687a0
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