an·​ces·​tral an-ˈse-strəl How to pronounce ancestral (audio)
: of, relating to, or inherited from an ancestor
ancestral estates
ancestrally adverb

Examples of ancestral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Davis’s sister was murdered in 2021, and Davis is among those who venerate their late family members in front of a baobab tree that has become their ancestral tree. Chika Oduah, Essence, 16 Nov. 2023 Uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived in 1502, St. Helena was later claimed by the Dutch before becoming a British territory—today, residents, known as Saints, have ancestral links to Britain but also to China, Madagascar, India, and West Africa. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 15 Nov. 2023 Anyway, the project intends to minimize emissions, says Sites executive director Jerry Brown — no relation to the former governor who lives nearby on his family’s ancestral ranch. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 Instead, it's been argued that this moment marked the return of Jews to their ancestral land. Nicole Froio,, 12 Nov. 2023 As in Watch Night, two brothers circle each other at the center of Translations, one nonchalantly cynical and forward-looking, the other serious, earnest, and devoted to preserving a deep ancestral identity. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 8 Nov. 2023 Raed Odeh, owner and barber of Palestine Hair Salon, has deep ancestral roots in the Palestinian territories, and said his refugee parents from Bethlehem originated from Al Khalil/Hebron, the second-largest city in the West Bank. Erik Ortiz, NBC News, 4 Nov. 2023 At La Tierra de la Culebra Art Park in Highland Park, Avenue 50 Studio hosts its annual celebration with two days of altar building, ancestral ceremonies, music and poetry. Kamren Curiel, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2023 Yet many Indigenous people in Brazil have been forcibly removed from ancestral lands, and the Xokleng had been subject to killings that reduced their population in the early 1900s and during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship. Cameron Pugh, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ancestral.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ancestral was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near ancestral

Cite this Entry

“Ancestral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


an·​ces·​tral an-ˈses-trəl How to pronounce ancestral (audio)
: of, relating to, or developed from an ancestor
ancestral home
ancestrally adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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