noun an·ces·tor \ˈan-ˌses-tər also -səs-\

: a person who was in someone's family in past times : one of the people from whom a person is descended

: an animal in the past from which a modern animal developed

: something in the past from which something else has developed

Full Definition of ANCESTOR

a :  one from whom a person is descended and who is usually more remote in the line of descent than a grandparent
b :  forefather 2
:  a progenitor of a more recent or existing species or group

Examples of ANCESTOR

  1. My ancestors came to America during the 1800s.
  2. Her ancestors were great sea captains.
  3. an ancient animal that was the ancestor of the modern horse
  4. The museum included an exhibit showing ancestors of the modern computer.
  5. several languages that are derived from a common ancestor
  6. Latin is the ancestor of Italian and French.

Origin of ANCESTOR

Middle English ancestre, from Anglo-French, from Latin antecessor predecessor, from antecedere to go before, from ante- + cedere to go
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Biology Terms

autochthonous, fecund, homunculus, phylogeny, substrate
ANCESTORS Defined for Kids


noun an·ces·tor \ˈan-ˌse-stər\

Definition of ANCESTOR for Kids

:  a person from whom someone is descended
:  something from which something else develops


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