Definition of ancestry in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈansɛstri/

noun (plural ancestries)

1One’s family or ethnic descent: he was proud of his Irish ancestry
More example sentences
  • A criollo in Argentina is a person or a family descended from Spanish ancestry, in other words, no added mixture of non-Spanish blood.
  • Many of these families traced their ancestry to the earliest English settlers of this country's oldest fishing port.
  • My father's family traces its ancestry there back 900 years.
1.1The evolutionary or genetic line of descent of an animal or plant: the ancestry of the rose is extremely complicated
More example sentences
  • Evolutionists sought the ancestry of the tetrapods among the lobe-finned fishes.
  • Lastly, Feduccia advocated the notion that convergent evolution may make the ancestry of birds unknowable.
  • Humans did not evolve out of an animal ancestry.
2The origin or background of something: the book traces the ancestry of women’s poetry
More example sentences
  • I believe that reading children's pictorial books that depict the ancestry of different continents with children can make global education meaningful.
  • This class is also called ‘tinkers’: whether this name has a common ancestry for both books or this is just a coincidence, I'm not sure.
  • This is because the African Republic and the Islamic Union have a common ancestry that originated in Northern Africa several thousand years ago.


Middle English: alteration of Old French ancesserie, from ancestre (see ancestor).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: an¦ces|try

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.