an·​ces·​tral | \ an-ˈse-strəl How to pronounce ancestral (audio) \

Definition of ancestral

: of, relating to, or inherited from an ancestor ancestral estates

Other Words from ancestral

ancestrally \ an-​ˈse-​strə-​lē How to pronounce ancestral (audio) \ adverb

Examples of ancestral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The report released Wednesday by the Interior Department expands the number of schools that were known to have operated for 150 years, starting in the early 19th century and coinciding with the removal of many tribes from their ancestral lands. Felicia Fonseca, ajc, 11 May 2022 The decentralized movement demands that tribes be able to manage environmental efforts on ancestral lands, efforts that can halt or reverse negative climate impacts. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 28 Apr. 2022 The McGirt decision was a watershed of Indian law, enforcing 19th century treaties with five tribes that were relocated to the prairie after white settlers drove them from ancestral lands in Georgia and Alabama. Jess Bravin, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2022 Recently, Amazon halted a sizable investment in Cape Town after the descendants of the Khoisan people asserted that the Amazon facilities were being built on their ancestral lands. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 Critics have pointed out that the areas mapped out for ZEDE construction are ancestral lands in the Garifuna region which has been inhabited by the indigenous people for thousands of years. Amiah Taylor, Fortune, 22 Apr. 2022 The state also needs to keep developing strategies to help Native American tribes reacquire and manage their ancestral lands, O’Shea said. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 His initial plan for the record was to write a set of songs set in the ancestral lands of the Muscogee-Creek people, a vast swath including much of what is now western Georgia and Alabama. Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone, 8 Mar. 2022 Activities include a day-boat tour of the park’s tidewater glaciers or a visit to the Huna Tribal House, where Huna Tlingit guides share their ancestral connection to the land. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 6 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ancestral.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ancestral

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ancestral

ancestor worship



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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ancestral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ancestral


an·​ces·​tral | \ an-ˈse-strəl How to pronounce ancestral (audio) \

Kids Definition of ancestral

: of, relating to, or coming from an ancestor They visited their ancestral home.


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