pro·​gen·​i·​tor | \ prō-ˈje-nə-tər How to pronounce progenitor (audio) , prə-\

Definition of progenitor

1a : an ancestor in the direct line : forefather
b : a biologically ancestral form
2 : precursor, originator progenitors of socialist ideasThe Times Literary Supplement (London) progenitor cells

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Synonyms & Antonyms for progenitor



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Examples of progenitor in a Sentence

the progenitors of modern art wild cats that were the progenitors of the house cat
Recent Examples on the Web Where that film was a claustrophobic study in madness, paranoia and corruption, Doctor Sleep is an expansive, sombre, multi-location, multi-character drama, a world away from its progenitor. Joey Nolfi,, "Mixed Doctor Sleep reviews praise The Shining sequel's creepy atmosphere," 30 Oct. 2019 To all African American descendants no matter when their progenitors arrived in the U.S.? Morgan Marietta, The Conversation, "This year at the Supreme Court: Gay rights, gun rights and Native rights," 3 Oct. 2019 This also left the Piëch and Porsche families, descendants of Ferdinand Porsche, the progenitor of both firms, as the biggest shareholders. The Economist, "Porsche is small but highly lucrative," 12 Sep. 2019 Yes, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will, like its progenitor, freak you and your kids right the hell out in all the best ways. Wired, "Netflix Re-Ups the Puppetry—and Perturbations—of Dark Crystal," 30 Aug. 2019 Koslow’s event included New York pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz, whose annual Manhattan bake sales benefiting Planned Parenthood are the progenitor of the model. Los Angeles Times, "Pastry chefs are raising thousands for charities like Planned Parenthood," 26 Aug. 2019 But the real star of the show here might be Gooigi, Luigi's gelatinous doppelganger that can split apart from his progenitor to help solve simple puzzles. Sam Machkovech And Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "The best games, demos, and tech of E3 2019," 14 June 2019 Greek, Turkish, and Arab camel drivers from the Eastern Mediterranean who have arrived in America with a boatload of dromedaries, which are the first of their kind to set foot on the continent since their progenitors died out in the last Ice Age. Francisco Cantú, The New Yorker, "Téa Obreht Reimagines the Western," 12 Aug. 2019 While there are still rides and water, the park is a considerably more cautious version of its progenitor. Jack Mccallum,, "Remembering Action Park, America's Most Dangerous, Daring Water Park," 1 July 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for progenitor

Middle English, from Anglo-French progenitour, from Latin progenitor, from progignere to beget, from pro- forth + gignere to beget — more at kin

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Statistics for progenitor

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for progenitor

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

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More Definitions for progenitor


How to pronounce progenitor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of progenitor

: someone who first thinks of or does something : a person who begins something
: something that is a model for something else : something that begins the development of something else
biology : a person or animal in the past that is related to a person or animal living now


pro·​gen·​i·​tor | \ prō-ˈjen-ət-ər, prə- How to pronounce progenitor (audio) \

Medical Definition of progenitor

1 : an ancestor of an individual in a direct line of descent along which some or all of the ancestral genes could theoretically have passed
2 : a biologically ancestral form

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Comments on progenitor

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


to speed up the process or progress of

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