family-tree theory

[fam-uh-lee tree, fam-lee-]

noun Historical Linguistics.

a theory that describes language change in terms of genetically related languages developing in successive splits from a common parent language, such as Indo-European, as depicted by a family tree diagram.

Nearby words

  1. family support,
  2. family therapy,
  3. family tree,
  4. family values,
  5. family way,
  6. famine,
  7. famish,
  8. famished,
  9. famotidine,
  10. famous

Compare wave theory.

Origin of family-tree theory

First recorded in 1930–35

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