What does ancestor mean?

Definitions for ancestor
ˈæn sɛs tər; esp. Brit. -sə stəran·ces·tor

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word ancestor.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ancestor, ascendant, ascendent, antecedent, root(noun)

    someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent)


  1. ancestor(Noun)

    One from whom a person is descended, whether on the father's or mother's side, at any distance of time; a progenitor; a forefather.

  2. ancestor(Noun)

    One who had the same role or function in former times.

  3. ancestor(Noun)

    An earlier type; a progenitor

    This fossil animal is regarded as the ancestor of the horse.

  4. ancestor(Noun)

    One from whom an estate has descended;the correlative of heir.

  5. Origin: ancestre, auncestre, ancessour; the first forms from ancestre (modern French ancêtre), from the nominative antecessor one who goes before; the last form from ancessor, from Latin accusative antecessorem, from antecedo; ante + cedo. See cede, and compare with antecessor.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ancestor(noun)

    one from whom a person is descended, whether on the father's or mother's side, at any distance of time; a progenitor; a fore father

  2. Ancestor(noun)

    an earlier type; a progenitor; as, this fossil animal is regarded as the ancestor of the horse

  3. Ancestor(noun)

    one from whom an estate has descended; -- the correlative of heir

  4. Origin: [OE. ancestre, auncestre, also ancessour; the first forms fr. OF. ancestre, F. anctre, fr. the L. nom. antessor one who goes before; the last form fr. OF. ancessor, fr. L. acc. antecessorem, fr. antecedere to go before; ante before + cedere to go. See Cede, and cf. Antecessor.]


  1. Ancestor

    An ancestor or forebear is a parent or the parent of an ancestor. Ancestor is "any person from whom one is descended. In law the person from whom an estate has been inherited." Two individuals have a genetic relationship if one is the ancestor of the other, or if they share a common ancestor. In evolutionary theory, species which share an evolutionary ancestor are said to be of common descent. However, this concept of ancestry does not apply to some bacteria and other organisms capable of horizontal gene transfer. Assuming that all of an individual's ancestors are otherwise unrelated to each other, that individual has 2 ancestors in the nth generation before him and a total of about 2+1 ancestors in the g generations before him. In practice, however, it is clear that the vast majority of ancestors of humans are multiply related. Consider n = 40: the human species is more than 40 generations old, yet the number 240, approximately 10¹² or one trillion, dwarfs the number of humans that have ever lived. Ignoring the possibility of other inter-relationships among ancestors, an individual has a total of 2046 ancestors up to the 10th generation, 1024 of which are 10th generation ancestors. With the same assumption, any given person has over a billion 30th generation ancestors and this theoretical number increases past the estimated total population of the world in around AD 1000.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ancestor

    an′ses-tur, n. one from whom a person has descended: a forefather:—fem. An′cestress.—adj. Ances′tral.—ns. An′cestor-wor′ship, the chief element in the religion of China and other countries—erroneously supposed by Herbert Spencer to be the foundation of all religion; An′cestry, a line of ancestors: lineage. [O. Fr. ancestre—L. antecessorante, before, cedĕre, cessum, to go.]

Editors Contribution

  1. ancestor

    A family member or person related to another human being that existed in a previous generation.

    My ancestors were Vikings, some were wed and some unmarried and produced offspring.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 24, 2017  

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ancestor' in Nouns Frequency: #2613

How to pronounce ancestor?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say ancestor in sign language?

  1. ancestor


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ancestor in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ancestor in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of ancestor in a Sentence

  1. Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    The ancestor of every action is a thought.

  2. Laurence J. Peter:

    Every man serves a useful purpose A miser, for example, makes a wonderful ancestor.

  3. Laurence J. Peter:

    Every man serves a useful purpose: A miser, for example, makes a wonderful ancestor.

  4. Steven Pinker:

    Ancestor worship must be an appealing idea to those who are about to become ancestors.

  5. The Oscar-winning actor-director:

    While I don't like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country's history is being talked about.

Images & Illustrations of ancestor

  1. ancestorancestorancestorancestorancestor

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Translations for ancestor

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"ancestor." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 14 Nov. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/ancestor>.

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