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 Randall Williams writes about her ancestry, which includes white slaveowners who raped Black enslaved women. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "A new leader takes the reins at Outdoor Voices," 29 June 2020 Noodin, who is of Anishinaabe ancestry, serves on the Milwaukee Water Commons board, of which Brenda Coley is the co-executive director. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Let's take our daughters and dance': How indigenous communities are showing solidarity with Black Lives Matter in Milwaukee," 9 July 2020 In another Instagram Story, the model encouraged her followers to post about their family and be proud of their ancestry. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "Bella Hadid Says Instagram Removed 'Proud Palestinian' Post: 'Can't Erase History by Silencing People'," 8 July 2020 If there is at least one purebred parent in every generation, are there more purebred huskies or Pomeranians in Dax’s ancestry? Quanta Magazine, "How to Breed a Pomsky and Other Questions About Dogs and Sex," 18 June 2020 The islanders, almost all of whom claimed British ancestry, ate British food and planted British gardens, with crowded flower beds and gnomes. Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker, "How Prosperity Transformed the Falklands," 29 June 2020 Some may have a genetic predisposition to hypertension, as any of us do, and genetic risks may be higher in people with African ancestry. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "The health effects of racism are one reason Black Americans are far more likely to die of Covid-19 than whites," 23 June 2020 Prosecutor Joe Deters, who was in the courtroom for Tuesday’s hearing, has previously said ancestry websites led investigators to Brown. Kevin Grasha, The Enquirer, "Prosecutor: Rapes of UC students in 1990s 'planned and calculated.' Man wore mask, gloves," 23 June 2020 Biden’s ancestry is easily traceable online through multiple genealogy websites. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, "Fact Check: Joe Biden's great-grandfather didn't own slaves, fight for Confederacy," 11 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for ancestry

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ancestry

Last Updated

29 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ancestry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for ancestry


How to pronounce ancestry (audio)

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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