prog·​e·​ny | \ ˈprä-jə-nē How to pronounce progeny (audio) \
plural progenies

Definition of progeny

b : offspring of animals or plants
3 : a body of followers, disciples, or successors

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The Lineage of Progeny

Progeny is the progeny of the Latin verb progignere, meaning "to beget." That Latin word is itself an offspring of the prefix pro-, meaning "forth," and gignere, which can mean "to beget" or "to bring forth." Gignere has produced a large family of English descendants, including benign (meaning "mild" or "harmless"), congenital (meaning "inherent"), engine, genius, germ, indigenous, ingenuous, and malign. Gignere even paired up with pro- again to produce a close relative of progeny: the noun progenitor, which can mean "an ancestor in the direct line," "a biologically ancestral form," or "a precursor or originator."

Examples of progeny in a Sentence

Many Americans are the progeny of immigrants. The small plants are the progeny of an oak tree. Their work is the progeny of many earlier studies.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And as the ultrarich boost philanthropy to universities, the price for giving their progeny an admissions edge has escalated correspondingly. Daniel Golden, Town & Country, "How Wealthy Families Manipulate Admissions at Elite Universities," 21 Nov. 2016 His staff dissuaded him from unloading on Bannon after a critical Vanity Fair piece before the holidays, but the final straw came when his former chief strategist publicly unloaded on his progeny. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Trump’s break with Bannon over Wolff book shows the limits of loyalty," 4 Jan. 2018 Just like Lucas’ films, which frame Anakin Skywalker and his progeny as the literal Chosen Ones, the single most important people in the galaxy, Crimes of Grindelwald falls into the exceptionalism trap. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the franchise’s Attack of the Clones when it should be The Last Jedi," 27 Nov. 2018 Summer's about reacquainting ourselves and our progeny with nature's bounty, swimming pools, backyards and family. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Netflix's summer sneak peek has some fun picks for kids and families," 21 May 2018 The study’s authors, led by Shameem Sultana Syeda of the University of Minnesota, are optimistic that, with further aiming, the poison’s progeny could one day strike as a safe, reversible male contraceptive. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Poison arrows inspire new male contraceptive, scientists report," 21 Jan. 2018 His youngest progeny, junior Kody, currently leads UT in nearly every essential offensive category. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "Roger Clemens donates $1 million to help UT build new indoor baseball facility," 24 Apr. 2018 But the dude is looking top form and can pull off his own screen progeny. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Top Gun 2' is casting Goose's son: Here's who we need to see in 'Maverick'," 28 June 2018 In professional sports, if not the dictionary, policy follows progeny. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Mothers in Tennis Grow in Influence," 9 July 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for progeny

Middle English progenie, from Anglo-French, from Latin progenies, from progignere

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Statistics for progeny

Last Updated

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for progeny

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

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More Definitions for progeny



English Language Learners Definition of progeny

: a person who comes from a particular parent or family : the child or descendant of someone
: the young of an animal or plant
: something that is the product of something else


prog·​e·​ny | \ ˈprä-jə-nē How to pronounce progeny (audio) \
plural progenies

Kids Definition of progeny

: human descendants or animal offspring


prog·​e·​ny | \ ˈpräj-(ə-)nē How to pronounce progeny (audio) \
plural progenies

Medical Definition of progeny

: offspring of animals or plants

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More from Merriam-Webster on progeny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for progeny

Spanish Central: Translation of progeny

Nglish: Translation of progeny for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of progeny for Arabic Speakers

Comments on progeny

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


one that collects or salvages junk

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