noun \prō-ˈje-nə-tər, prə-\

: someone who first thinks of or does something : a person who begins something

: something that is a model for something else : something that begins the development of something else

biology : a person or animal in the past that is related to a person or animal living now

Full Definition of PROGENITOR

a :  an ancestor in the direct line :  forefather
b :  a biologically ancestral form
:  precursor, originator <progenitors of socialist ideas — Times Literary Supplement> <progenitor cells>

Examples of PROGENITOR

  1. the progenitors of modern art
  2. wild cats that were the progenitors of the house cat


Middle English, from Anglo-French progenitour, from Latin progenitor, from progignere to beget, from pro- forth + gignere to beget — more at kin
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Biology Terms

autochthonous, fecund, homunculus, phylogeny, substrate


noun \prō-ˈjen-ət-ər, prə-\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of PROGENITOR

: an ancestor of an individual in a direct line of descent along which some or all of the ancestral genes could theoretically have passed
: a biologically ancestral form


Next Word in the Dictionary: progenitorial
Previous Word in the Dictionary: progenitive
All Words Near: progenitor

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up progenitor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More