ancestor

[ an-ses-ter or, esp. British, -suh-ster ]
/ ˈæn sɛs tər or, esp. British, -sə stər /

noun

a person from whom one is descended; forebear; progenitor.
Biology. the actual or hypothetical form or stock from which an organism has developed or descended.
an object, idea, style, or occurrence serving as a prototype, forerunner, or inspiration to a later one: The balloon is an ancestor of the modern dirigible.
a person who serves as an influence or model for another; one from whom mental, artistic, spiritual, etc., descent is claimed: a philosophical ancestor.
Law. a person from whom an heir derives an inheritance.

Origin of ancestor

1250–1300; Middle English ancestre < Old French (with t developed between s and r) < Latin antecessor antecessor

Can be confused

ancestor descendant
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ancestor

British Dictionary definitions for ancestor

ancestor

/ (ˈænsɛstə) /

noun

(often plural) a person from whom another is directly descended, esp someone more distant than a grandparent; forefather
an early type of animal or plant from which a later, usually dissimilar, type has evolved
a person or thing regarded as a forerunner of a later person or thingthe ancestor of the modern camera

Derived Forms

ancestress, fem n

Word Origin for ancestor

C13: from Old French ancestre, from Late Latin antecēssor one who goes before, from Latin antecēdere; see antecede
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