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 That was fulfilling what my name meant, what my ancestry demanded of me. Ryce Stoughtenborough, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 June 2021 More than a decade ago, a prominent academic was exposed for having faked her Cherokee ancestry. New York Times, 25 May 2021 Itoje grew up in London but has always felt a strong connection to his Nigerian ancestry. Rachel Wood, CNN, 21 May 2021 General Lee’s family traces its ancestry back to the founding fathers of the United States. al, 17 May 2021 As Facing the Mountain notes, Miho joined the Hawaii Territorial Guard but was later dismissed because of his Japanese ancestry. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 May 2021 Founded by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza, and Anne Wojcicki, this DNA test will give curious moms and wanderlusters both helpful personal health information and a direction to go on their next trip, possibly to discover more of their ancestry. Kendall Cornish, Travel + Leisure, 6 May 2021 That’s a barrier which must be removed to ensure that people with multicultural names are being judged by their skills and not their ancestry. Ellevate, Forbes, 6 May 2021 But Dorothy Cochrane, curator for general aviation at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, says accounts from other pilots who flew with Malick offer enough evidence to confirm his Black ancestry. Khari Thompson, USA TODAY, 4 May 2021

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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Learn More About ancestry

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

24 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ancestry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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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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