ge·​ne·​al·​o·​gy | \ ˌjē-nē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce genealogy (audio) also -ˈa-lə- also ˌje-nē- How to pronounce genealogy (audio) \
plural genealogies

Definition of genealogy

1 : an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms
2 : regular descent of a person, family, or group of organisms from a progenitor (see progenitor sense 1) or older form : pedigree
3 : the study of family ancestral lines
4 : an account of the origin and historical development of something

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Other Words from genealogy

genealogical \ ˌjē-​nē-​ə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce genealogical (audio) , ˌje-​nē-​ \ adjective
genealogically \ ˌjē-​nē-​ə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce genealogically (audio) , ˌje-​nē-​ \ adverb

Examples of genealogy in a Sentence

They've been researching their genealogies. has a distinguished genealogy that traces back to William the Conqueror

Recent Examples on the Web

Family genealogy site Ancestry likes this pick as a way to honor the Queen, who goes by the nickname Lilibet amongst family. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "All of the Royal Baby Names Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Might Choose," 22 Mar. 2019 This screen forms the basis of personal DNA testing and genealogy services. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Chances DNA can be used to find your family? Sixty percent and rising," 11 Oct. 2018 Although his specific place in the genealogy of black liberation theology is debatable, Cone is unquestionably its 20th-century systematizer and as such, is noted as the father of liberation theology. Eboni Marshall Turman, The Root, "‘If God Is White, Kill God’: Why Dr. James Cone Was Once the Most Hated Theologian in America," 7 May 2018 Amid the family separation crisis at the U.S. border, some concerned observers have floated an idea: Could direct-to-consumer genealogy companies offer free genetic testing to reunite children with their parents? Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "Could genetic testing help reunite separated immigrant families? It’s complicated," 21 June 2018 Aware that their millions of customers don’t necessarily want to inform on their relatives, some genealogy companies actively resist handing over data to police, STAT wrote this week. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "The ingenious and ‘dystopian’ DNA technique police used to hunt the Golden State Killer," 27 Apr. 2018 Millions of Americans are doing it — packing up samples of their saliva and mailing it off to an online genealogy company to analyze their DNA and help trace their family tree. Dale Kasler And Anita Chabria, sacbee, "How private is your DNA on ancestry websites? East Area Rapist case raises questions | The Sacramento Bee," 26 Apr. 2018 District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said her office used DNA and genealogy websites to zero in on Waller. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "NorCal Rapist suspect is UC Berkeley employee, police say," 22 Sep. 2018 Their goal is to provide resources to aid with genealogy and family history. Pam Greer, Ramona Sentinel, "Church open house to showcase Family History Center," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'genealogy.' 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 genealogy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for genealogy

Middle English genealogie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin genealogia, from Greek, from genea race, family + -logia -logy; akin to Greek genos race

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Statistics for genealogy

Last Updated

6 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for genealogy

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

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More Definitions for genealogy



English Language Learners Definition of genealogy

: the study of family history
: the history of a particular family showing how the different members of the family are related to each other


ge·​ne·​al·​o·​gy | \ ˌjē-nē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce genealogy (audio) \
plural genealogies

Kids Definition of genealogy

1 : a line of ancestors of a person or family or a history of such a line of ancestors
2 : the study of family lines of ancestors

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Comments on genealogy

What made you want to look up genealogy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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