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

After her mother dies, the Graham family starts to discover cryptic and terrifying secrets about their ancestry. Fortune, "'Ocean's 8' Opens in Top Spot at Box Office," 10 June 2018 Custom rehabs often reflect ancestry, said Vázquez, who sees hints of heritage in exterior color choices or permastone selection. Cassie Owens,, "Philadelphia Latinos connect with Caribbean roots through ornate porch gates," 5 July 2018 That’s a huge improvement, says Dr. Pyeritz, but the company’s ancestry data still isn’t complete. Amanda Macmillan,, "7 Things You Need to Know Before You Try 23andMe," 25 Apr. 2018 Before this, people of Asian ancestry identified with their ethnic group and didn’t see commonalities with each other. NBC News, "After 50 years of 'Asian American,' advocates say the term is 'more essential than ever'," 31 May 2018 What most companies offer today is a measure of ancestry that maps to a geographic region. Jason Lemon, ajc, "Do popular DNA tests like 23andMe, Ancestry actually work?," 2 May 2018 Today, people who belong to higher castes and those who speak Indo-European languages such as Hindi and Urdu tend to have more of this ancestry. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "South Asians are descended from a mix of farmers, herders, and hunter-gatherers, ancient DNA reveals," 18 Apr. 2018 On his Tumblr page Onfroy also claimed Egyptian, Indian, German and Italian ancestry. Kyle Swenson,, "XXXTentacion: The nasty, brutish and short life of the chart-topping rapper," 20 June 2018 The state is home to the nation’s third-largest Native American population — a group that grew by 11%, to 371,605 people, from 2010 to 2016, according to census figures on those who claim only Native American ancestry. Marisa Agha,, "As Arizona approaches midterm election, Native Americans look to increase clout," 12 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

9 Nov 2018

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

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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).


by force of circumstances

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