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[an-ses-truh l] /ænˈsɛs trəl/
pertaining to ancestors; descending or claimed from ancestors:
an ancestral home.
serving as a forerunner, prototype, or inspiration.
Origin of ancestral
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English aunce(s)trel < Middle French, equivalent to ancestre ancestor + -el -al1
Related forms
ancestrally, adverb
nonancestral, adjective
nonancestrally, adverb
pseudoancestral, adjective
pseudoancestrally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ancestral
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They come from all parts of the world, in an ancestral sense.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • We turn, like loyal disciples of Taine and Sainte-Beuve, to his ancestral stock.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • "I'll take you up and show you our ancestral hut," declared Bob Martin.

    The Innocent Adventuress Mary Hastings Bradley
  • Any ancestral quality now lost is lost from the line forever.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • Here, after eighteen years, was he again in his ancestral home of Marleigh.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for ancestral


of, inherited from, or derived from ancestors: his ancestral home
(logic) a relation that holds between x and y if there is a chain of instances of a given relation leading from x to y. Thus the ancestral of parent of is ancestor of, since x is the ancestor of y if and only if x is a parent of…a parent of…a parent of y
Derived Forms
ancestrally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ancestral

1520s, from Old French ancestrel (Anglo-French auncestrel), from ancestre (see ancestor). Related: Ancestrally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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