• synonyms


[an-ses-truh l]
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  1. pertaining to ancestors; descending or claimed from ancestors: an ancestral home.
  2. serving as a forerunner, prototype, or inspiration.
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Origin of ancestral

1425–75; late Middle English aunce(s)trel < Middle French, equivalent to ancestre ancestor + -el -al1
Related formsan·ces·tral·ly, adverbnon·an·ces·tral, adjectivenon·an·ces·tral·ly, adverbpseu·do·an·ces·tral, adjectivepseu·do·an·ces·tral·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ancestral

familial, tribal, affiliated, congenital, inborn, inbred, inherited, innate, maternal, old, past, paternal, consanguine, consanguineous, genealogical, lineal, totemic

Examples from the Web for ancestral

Contemporary Examples of ancestral

Historical Examples of ancestral

  • 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.

  • "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


  1. of, inherited from, or derived from ancestorshis ancestral home
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  1. 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
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Derived Formsancestrally, 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

Word Origin and History for ancestral


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper