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

Prehistoric predator megalodon and its modern-day successor, the great white shark, may be considered two of history's greatest predators, but, according to new research, their ancestry may be a little more unassuming. Fox News, "Unassuming shark that lived 165M years ago was ancestor of great white, megalodon," 10 July 2019 Boyce, who was African American and Jewish, also spoke to how his family ancestry shaped him as a person, including his grandmother Jo Ann Boyce. Rachel Desantis,, "Cameron Boyce Said He Hoped to Lead by Example on 'What It Means to Give Back' in Final Interview," 7 July 2019 Contractors with white ancestry claiming Cherokee heritage have gotten hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts meant for minorities, a Times investigation found. Julia Wick,, "Essential California: Needles wants to be a ‘sanctuary city’ for the 2nd Amendment," 27 June 2019 Around 830,000 people with Haitian ancestry live in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2009 American community survey. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Trump’s vulgar remark on Haiti, Africa leaves immigrants baffled," 12 Jan. 2018 Sites and shows like those and others suggest that, in our highly individualistic world, ancestry is just a pastime. Karin Wulf, Smithsonian, "This Long-Ignored Document, Written by George Washington, Lays Bare the Legal Power of Geneaology," 18 June 2019 Michael’s welter of feelings about his ancestry and his father are the basis of this book. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Millennial Who Rejects Hipness and Irony," 14 June 2019 The short story of how Castiglia and Rayne found each other begins with his cousin in Miami Gardens who opened a 23andMe account looking for information about family ancestry. Ben Crandell,, "Out of the blues: Guitarist Albert Castiglia’s masterpiece is the family he didn’t know he had," 13 June 2019 Today the use of DNA to prove identity has become common forensic practice, even as recreational ancestry testing has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry. Nara B. Milanich, Time, "Paternity Testing Had a Long History Before Today’s DNA Kits. The Science Hasn’t Always Matched the Hype," 10 June 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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Statistics for ancestry

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for ancestry

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

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