Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
The firstborn male considered as the spiritual and material heir of his father. Especially seen in the biblical account of Jacob, who persuaded his brother Esau to sell his birthright for a mess of pottage (Genesis 25:31-34). In memory of the firstborn among Jews being spared in Egypt, the fast of the firstborn was established for the fourteenth of Nisan.