Definition of ancestor
1a : one from whom a person is descended and who is usually more remote in the line of descent than a grandparent Her ancestors came to America in the 1880s.b : forefather 2
3 : a progenitor (see progenitor 1b) of a more recent or existing species or group the ancestor of the modern horse
Examples of ancestor in a Sentence
My ancestors came to America during the 1800s.
Her ancestors were great sea captains.
an ancient animal that was the ancestor of the modern horse
The museum included an exhibit showing ancestors of the modern computer.
several languages that are derived from a common ancestor
Latin is the ancestor of Italian and French.
Recent Examples of ancestor from the Web
Many black South Africans whose ancestors lost their land and civil rights under colonial rule continue to feel the effects of its legacy.
The tribal house, known as Xunaa Shuká Hít, will serve as a gathering place for tribal members whose ancestors traditionally occupied the area.
Most inexplicably, one of the series’s most dubious ongoing motifs, Frank’s obsession with his Confederate soldier ancestor, got pride of place with the war reenactor Eric Rawlings making a visit to the White House.
For 40 years, the David D. Porter Camp No. 116 chapter of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War has held its Memorial Day Commemoration, the descendants of Union soldiers wearing replicas of their ancestor's blue uniforms.
Several different families have come together on this Sunday afternoon for a chance to be reunited with their ancestors.
In this scenario, the descendants of an animal would be both larger and smaller than their ancestor, but this didn’t fit with the data either, since whales only got bigger.
Hatred is part of what has bound us to our prehistoric ancestors.
See, now the ancestors responded, the heavens have opened in a big way.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ancestor'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology 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
ANCESTOR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ancestor for English Language Learners
: 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
ANCESTOR Defined for Kids
Definition of ancestor for Students
1 : a person from whom someone is descended
2 : something from which something else develops
Seen and Heard
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