- 1A person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended: he could trace his ancestors back to James the FirstMore example sentences
- A smaller unit is the lineage, a kin group of four or five generations descended from a male ancestor traced though the male line.
- Yet evolution predicts not just successions of forms, but also genetic lineages from ancestors to descendants.
- The family unit has at its head the ancestors followed by the grandparents, the father, the wives and then the children.
- 1.1An early type of animal or plant from which others have evolved: the ancestor of most dolphins is not clear both species of elephant have a common ancestorMore example sentences
- It is generally accepted that all multicellular animals have evolved from a common ancestor, which itself evolved from a single-celled organism.
- There are two main types, the dome heads and the horned dinosaurs, which evolved from a common ancestor during the early Cretaceous.
- Finally we get to the common ancestor of all animals, plants, protists, and fungi.
- 1.2An early version of a machine, system, etc.: this instrument is an ancestor of the luteMore example sentences
- This solution is the ancestor of many versions of platonism in mathematics.
- The oud is a popular instrument; it is an ancient stringed instrument that is the ancestor of the European lute.
- An ancient stringed instrument, it is an ancestor of the European lute.
Middle English: from Old French ancestre, from Latin antecessor, from antecedere, from ante 'before' + cedere 'go'.