[ proh-jen-i-ter ]
/ proʊˈdʒɛn ɪ tər /


a biologically related ancestor: a progenitor of the species.
a person or thing that first indicates a direction, originates something, or serves as a model; predecessor; precursor: the progenitor of modern painting.

Nearby words

  1. prog.,
  2. progametangium,
  3. progamete,
  4. progastrin,
  5. progenitive,
  6. progenitor cell,
  7. progeny,
  8. progeria,
  9. progeroid,
  10. progestational

Origin of progenitor

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin prōgenitor the founder of a family. See pro-1, genitor

Related formspro·gen·i·to·ri·al [proh-jen-i-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /proʊˌdʒɛn ɪˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, adjectivepro·gen·i·tor·ship, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for progenitor

British Dictionary definitions for progenitor


/ (prəʊˈdʒɛnɪtə) /


a direct ancestor
an originator or founder of a future development; precursor

Word Origin for progenitor

C14: from Latin: ancestor, from pro- 1 + genitor parent, from gignere to beget

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 progenitor



late 14c., from Anglo-French progenitour (mid-14c.), Old French progeniteur (14c.) and directly from Latin progenitor "ancestor, the founder of a family," agent noun from progenitus, past participle of progignere (see progeny). Related: Progenitive; progenital; progenitrix (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for progenitor


[ prō-jĕnĭ-tər ]


A direct ancestor.
An originator of a line of descent.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.