an·​ces·​try | \ ˈan-ˌse-strē How to pronounce ancestry (audio) \

Definition of ancestry

1 : line of descent : lineage especially : honorable, noble, or aristocratic descent
2 : persons initiating or comprising a line of descent : ancestors

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Examples of ancestry in a Sentence

They claim to be of noble ancestry. a person of unknown ancestry She claims to be able to trace her ancestry all the way back to the earliest settlers.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Individuals can be searched by name, ethnicity, gender, age of death, and ancestry. Amanda Blanco,, "A new project reveals the hidden history of colonial people of color who are buried in downtown Hartford," 6 Sep. 2019 Mixed ancestry unites rather than divides Dominicans. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: A lesson on identity politics from the Dominican Republic," 5 Sep. 2019 Ancient Indus Valley Civilization ancestry holds other mysteries as well. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Rare Ancient DNA Provides Window Into a 5,000-Year-Old South Asian Civilization," 5 Sep. 2019 Humans today are mosaics, our genomes rich tapestries of interwoven ancestries. Wired, "Humans and Neanderthals Kept Breeding—and Breeding—for Ages," 1 Sep. 2019 If anything, falsely claiming Native ancestry simply makes her more relatable to the hordes of white people who continue to do so, as made clear by a February report in The New York Times. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Who Gets to Say If Warren’s Apology to Cherokee Nation Is Enough?," 30 Aug. 2019 Humans today are mosaics, our genomes rich tapestries of interwoven ancestries. Quanta Magazine, "Fossil DNA Reveals New Twists in Modern Human Origins," 29 Aug. 2019 Many of the first professional baseballers were converted cricketers, and the two games share a common ancestry with many similar elements. Giana Han,, "Lisa Ramjit, Baltimore-area eighth-grader on U.S. national cricket team, to throw first pitch at Orioles’ first ‘Cricket Day’," 10 July 2019 Twenty-three, including males and females, had ancestries typical of contemporary South Asians; their remains were deposited at the lake between the 7th and 10th centuries, and not all at once. Robin George Andrews, New York Times, "The Mystery of the Himalayas’ Skeleton Lake Just Got Weirder," 26 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of ancestry

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for ancestry

The first known use of ancestry was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of ancestry

: a person's ancestors : the people who were in your family in past times


an·​ces·​try | \ ˈan-ˌse-strē How to pronounce ancestry (audio) \
plural ancestries

Kids Definition of ancestry

: a person's ancestors

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Comments on ancestry

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


to make a temporary encampment

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