Meaning of ancestor


An ancestor came before. Your grandmother’s grandmother and any relative before her is one of your ancestors.

Ante-, a common Latin prefix, means “before.” Cedere is Latin for “to go.” So, an ancestor is someone who has gone before us. Evolutionary biologists have advanced the theory that all life on earth descends from a common ancestor. Ancestor can also mean “prototype” or “forerunner.” The abacus is a distant ancestor of today’s supercomputers.

Definitions of ancestor
  1. noun

    someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent)


    antecedent, ascendant, ascendent, root

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    descendant, descendent

    a person considered as descended from some ancestor or race

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    the first of the Old Testament patriarchs and the father of Isaac; according to Genesis, God promised to give Abraham’s family (the Hebrews) the land of Canaan (the Promised Land); God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son

    (Old Testament) the youngest and best-loved son of Jacob and Rachel and one of the twelve forebears of the tribes of Israel

    (Old Testament) the second patriarch; son of Abraham and Sarah who was offered by Abraham as a sacrifice to God; father of Jacob and Esau

    (Old Testament) the son of Abraham who was cast out after the birth of Isaac; considered the forebear of 12 Arabian tribes

    (Old Testament) a son of Jacob and a forebear of one of the tribes of Israel

    (Old Testament) the 11th son of Jacob and one of the 12 patriarchs of Israel; Jacob gave Joseph a coat of many colors, which made his brothers jealous and they sold him into slavery in Egypt

    (Old Testament) the fourth son of Jacob who was forebear of one of the tribes of Israel; one of his descendants was to be the Messiah

    (Old Testament) a patriarch (grandfather of Noah) who is said to have lived 969 years

    the Hebrew patriarch who saved himself and his family and the animals by building an ark in which they survived 40 days and 40 nights of rain; the story of Noah and the flood is told in the Book of Genesis

    (Old Testment) a son of Jacob and forefather of one of the tribes of Israel
    Blessed Virgin

    the mother of Jesus; Christians refer to her as the Virgin Mary; she is especially honored by Roman Catholics

    the mother-in-law of Ruth whose story is told in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament

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    a woman ancestor
    forbear, forebear

    a person from whom you are descended
    father, forefather, sire

    the founder of a family

    a woman ancestor
    primogenitor, progenitor

    an ancestor in the direct line

    a natural father or mother

    a parent of your father or mother
    great grandparent

    a parent of your grandparent

    any of the early biblical characters regarded as fathers of the human race
    type of:

    relation, relative

    a person related by blood or marriage

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