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Multiple Inheritance vs. Multilevel Inheritance: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 2, 2024
Multiple Inheritance is an inheritance in which a class can inherit from more than one class. Multilevel Inheritance is an inheritance where a class inherits from a class which further inherits from another class.

Key Differences

Multiple inheritance allows a class to inherit features from more than one parent class, enabling it to combine multiple types of functionality. Conversely, multilevel inheritance involves a class inheriting from another class, which in turn inherits from a third class, creating a chain of inheritance.
In multiple inheritance, a child class can gain access to methods and fields from all of its parent classes. In multilevel inheritance, the inheritance chain can be very deep, with properties and methods being passed down through several levels.
Multiple inheritance can lead to ambiguity if the same method is inherited from multiple parents. However, multilevel inheritance avoids this by having a clear lineage of inheritance, though it can become complex with many levels.
Multiple inheritance is not supported in some programming languages due to its complexity and potential Multilevel inheritance is widely supported and more straightforward to implement.
Multiple inheritance merges multiple class hierarchies into one, whereas multilevel inheritance creates a single, linear hierarchy that extends through several levels.

Comparison Chart

Inheritance Structure

Inherits from multiple classes simultaneously.
Inherits from a single class, which itself may inherit.


Can be complex due to potential conflicts.
Generally simpler and more linear.

Language Support

Not supported in some languages like Java.
Supported in most object-oriented programming languages.

Ambiguity Risks

Higher risk of ambiguity in methods and properties.
Lower risk of ambiguity.

Hierarchical Relationship

Forms a web-like structure with multiple parents.
Forms a tree-like linear structure with single lineage.

Multiple Inheritance and Multilevel Inheritance Definitions

Multiple Inheritance

Multiple inheritance combines different class behaviors into a single class.
Combining Painter and Writer classes into a single Artist class.

Multilevel Inheritance

Multilevel inheritance involves a child class inheriting from a parent class, which itself is a child of another class.
A Grandchild class inheriting from a Child class, which inherits from a Parent class.

Multiple Inheritance

Multiple inheritance lets a class inherit from various classes.
In Python, a class can inherit both a Flying and Swimming ability, making it both an aviator and a swimmer.

Multilevel Inheritance

This inheritance passes traits through a chain of classes.
A JuniorEmployee inherits from Employee, which inherits from Person.

Multiple Inheritance

It's a feature where one class can have more than one superclass.
A HybridVehicle class can inherit from both Car and Boat classes.

Multilevel Inheritance

Multilevel inheritance allows for sequential and tiered class relationships.
A BasicPhone class evolves into a Smartphone through multilevel inheritance from a Telephone class.

Multiple Inheritance

It involves inheriting properties from multiple sources.
A Smartphone class inheriting from Camera, Telephone, and Computer.

Multilevel Inheritance

It's a form of inheritance where classes are connected in a linear hierarchy.
In a Vehicle -> Car -> ElectricCar hierarchy, ElectricCar is a multilevel inheritance from Vehicle.

Multiple Inheritance

This type of inheritance allows for the creation of flexible and diverse class hierarchies.
A MultimediaDevice can inherit from AudioPlayer and VideoPlayer.

Multilevel Inheritance

It's a layered approach to inheritance, creating a step-by-step class evolution.
A BaseModel class leads to a MidRangeModel, which leads to a PremiumModel.


Do all programming languages support multiple inheritance?

No, some languages like Java don't support it.

How does multiple inheritance affect class design?

It allows for more flexible and diverse class hierarchies.

What is multiple inheritance?

It's when a class inherits features from more than one parent class.

Is it easier to manage dependencies in multilevel inheritance?

Yes, because of its straightforward and linear hierarchy.

Can multiple inheritance lead to complexity?

Yes, it can be complex due to potential method and property conflicts.

What is multilevel inheritance?

It's when a class inherits from another class, which itself is a child of another class.

Can multilevel inheritance lead to complex hierarchies?

It can, especially with many levels of inheritance.

What is an example of multilevel inheritance?

A Grandchild class inheriting from Child, which inherits from Parent.

Is multiple inheritance more flexible than multilevel?

It's more flexible in combining different functionalities, but also more complex.

What is an example of multiple inheritance?

A class inheriting features from both a Vehicle and an ElectronicDevice.

How does multilevel inheritance enhance a class?

It allows for sequential enhancement and specialization of classes.

Is multilevel inheritance common in programming?

Yes, it's a common and widely supported form of inheritance.

Can a class have both multiple and multilevel inheritance?

Yes, in languages that support both, a class can implement them simultaneously.

How do programmers resolve conflicts in multiple inheritance?

They use specific techniques like method overriding or specifying the parent class.

Does multilevel inheritance promote code reusability?

Yes, it promotes reusability by allowing classes to build upon existing functionality.

Does multilevel inheritance simplify debugging?

It can simplify debugging due to its more linear and clear class relationships.

Should beginners start with multilevel inheritance?

Yes, it's generally more straightforward and better for beginners to understand.

Can multiple inheritance cause name conflicts?

Yes, name conflicts are a common issue in multiple inheritance.

Can multiple inheritance enhance polymorphism?

Yes, it allows for more diverse forms of polymorphism.

Is multiple inheritance suitable for all projects?

No, it's best used in scenarios where its benefits outweigh the complexity.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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