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See more synonyms for progenitor on Thesaurus.com
  1. a biologically related ancestor: a progenitor of the species.
  2. a person or thing that first indicates a direction, originates something, or serves as a model; predecessor; precursor: the progenitor of modern painting.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

predecessor, ancestor, parent, precursor, begetter, primogenitor, originator, forefather, founder, sire

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British Dictionary definitions for progenitor


  1. a direct ancestor
  2. an originator or founder of a future development; precursor
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Word Origin

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

progenitor in Medicine


  1. A direct ancestor.
  2. An originator of a line of descent.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.