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

On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182 departed Toronto via Montreal for Delhi with 329 passengers and crew, mostly Canadians of Indian ancestry. Chandrima Chakraborty, Quartz India, "Canada’s indifference to the 1985 Air India bombing is disturbing," 24 June 2019 The representative from New York said this week, immigrant children were taken to the same concentration camps where people of Japanese ancestry were held in during WWII. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border"," 18 June 2019 In the 1980s, a national commission studied the government’s relocation and internment in camps of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Kelebogile Zvobgo, The Conversation, "Maryland has created a truth commission on lynchings – can it deliver?," 14 June 2019 Like Talbott, Bjerke was identified by a genetic genealogist at Parabon Nanolabs, using the free ancestry website GEDmatch. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Lawyers in a Murder Trial Clash Over a DNA Forensics Method," 17 June 2019 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

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

17 Aug 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).


a period when something is suspended

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