[an-ses-tris or, esp. British, -suh-stris]


a woman from whom a person is descended.

Origin of ancestress

First recorded in 1570–80; ancest(o)r + -ess

Usage note

See -ess. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ancestress

Historical Examples of ancestress

  • An ancestress of ours made a mesalliance in the reign of your King John.


    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • Today no small host of Americans have for ancestress the daughter of Powhatan.

  • The girl read and re-read the description of this ancestress, then gasped.

    The Roof Tree

    Charles Neville Buck

  • His ancestress Asenath, the wife of Joseph, had been an Egyptian and he had boasted of the fact.

    Joshua, Complete

    Georg Ebers

  • The Quaker woman Elizabeth Hooton was an ancestress of mine.

    Mark Twain's Speeches

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)