inheritance
A mechanism whereby one class of objects can be defined as a special case of a more general class and includes the method and variable definitions of the general class, known as a base or superclass. The superclass serves as the baseline for the appearance and behavior of the descendant class, which is also known as a subclass. In the subclass, the appearance, behavior, and structure can be customized without affecting the superclass. Figure G-28 shows an example of inheritance.
Figure G-28  
Related terms
class, descendant class, method, object, subclass, superclass, variable
Contrast with
hierarchy, object-oriented programming

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