Definition of ancestor noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈænsestə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈænsestər//
    Family background
    jump to other results
  1. 1a person in your family who lived a long time ago synonym forebear His ancestors had come to America from Ireland. Wordfinderancestor, branch, descent, dynasty, family tree, genealogy, generation, inherit, relation, trace See related entries: Family background
  2. 2an animal that lived in the past which a modern animal has developed from a reptile that was the common ancestor of lizards and turtles
  3. 3an early form of a machine which later became more developed synonym forerunner The ancestor of the modern bicycle was called a penny-farthing. compare descendant
  4. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French ancestre, from Latin antecessor, from antecedere, from ante ‘before’ + cedere ‘go’.Extra examples He can trace his ancestors back to the reign of Elizabeth I. He claims as his literary ancestors such giants as Henry James and William Faulkner. Our earliest ancestors lived in a world fraught with danger. The Romans built these monuments to glorify their illustrious ancestors. The builder of the house was a direct ancestor of the present owner. The two species share a common ancestor. They honour/​honor their ancestors and believe in the spirits of nature. a distant ancestor of mine
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: ancestor