an·ces·try | \ ˈan-ˌses-trē \

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

In our country’s earliest days, European ancestry distinguished members of the polity from those whose land could be rightfully expropriated; and whose bodies justly bought and sold. Eric Leivtz, Daily Intelligencer, "For Democrats, Immigration Is a Political Problem Without a Policy Solution," 2 July 2018 How did one American radicalism become the official common ancestry of the country’s mainstream, while the other disappeared down the collective memory hole? Jedediah Purdy, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Class," 27 June 2018 Sequencing revealed that the settlers had a roughly even split of Norse (from what are today Norway and Sweden) and Gaelic (from what are now Ireland and Scotland) ancestry. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Iceland’s founding fathers underwent a rapid, 1000-year genetic shift," 31 May 2018 Perhaps that’s why Cliven’s claims to the land through ancestry are always so … vague. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Two: By a Thread," 16 May 2018 Modern genetics, even the popular genetic kit that people are purchasing today, are showing that race is only skin deep while blood and mitochondrial DNA are showing individual ancestry as coming from all over the world. Jo Ann Zuniga, Houston Chronicle, "Time to write a new chapter on what truly makes America great," 9 May 2018 His vision in the discourse was for a law prohibiting discrimination against any person because of race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "King planted seeds for change at North Central College during Naperville visit, former student/board trustee recalls," 4 Apr. 2018 The Manzanar Children’s Village was populated by orphans of Japanese ancestry who’d been living in foster care or institutions on the West Coast. Rick Hampson, USA TODAY, "Celebrating Independence Day in America's detention camps – during World War II and now," 2 July 2018 Other cases of systemic family separation can be found throughout history, the most notorious being slavery and the internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry in World War II. John D'anna, azcentral, "Think child separations are unprecedented? Here are 3 heartbreaking examples from history," 21 June 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

14 Sep 2018

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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 \
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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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