an·​ces·​try | \ ˈan-ˌses-trē 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

Claiming his Targaryen ancestry will definitely prove a hard task for Jon, a man who lives and breathes House Stark. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Will Jon Betray the Starks on 'Game of Thrones'?," 16 Apr. 2019 Reuters recently reported, for example, that immigration authorities in Canada have been using DNA and ancestry websites to ascertain the nationality of migrants. John Brandon, Fox News, "Could hackers steal your DNA and sell it?," 21 Aug. 2018 Although most of their ancestry comes from East Asian populations, especially Oceanic groups, nearly a quarter comes from New Guinea. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The modern pygmies of Flores are not related to Homo floresiensis," 2 Aug. 2018 Decades after the killings terrified communities throughout California, authorities tracked down the suspect using data from an ancestry website where people submit their DNA results in hopes of tracking down relatives and ancestors. Madison Park, CNN, "Suspected Golden State Killer appears in court," 14 May 2018 East Area Rapist, the case that haunted a prosecutor – until now How private is your DNA on ancestry websites? Sam Stanton And Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Relative's DNA from genealogy websites cracked East Area Rapist case, DA's office says," 27 Apr. 2018 The 32-year-old cold case is one of several in the last week that have been solved thanks to genealogical sleuthing made possible by the uploading of DNA to an open-source ancestry site that was used to crack the Golden State Killer case. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "How DNA analysis technology is unlocking cold cases," 19 July 2018 Jazlynn Schwegman has always been proud of her Native American ancestry. Sarah Gish, kansascity, "From taboo to fine art: KC tattoo convention draws hundreds of ink artists and addicts | The Kansas City Star," 26 May 2018 One result claimed someone had 20 percent Native American ancestry. Christine Willmsen, The Seattle Times, "Lynnwood man tried to use a home DNA test to qualify as a minority business owner. He was denied — now he’s suing.," 13 Sep. 2018

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

11 May 2019

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

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More Definitions for ancestry



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).


using a distributed computer network

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