ancestor


ancestor
ancestor, progenitor, forefather, forebear mean a person from whom one is descended.
Ancestor, especially in genealogical and in historical use, implies lineal descent through one’s father or mother
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he had three ancestors who were judges

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but it is seldom applied to a grandparent. In more general use, ancestor (especially in the plural) may imply kinship through collaterals or through race
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the gentleman will please remember that when his half-civilized ancestors were hunting the wild boar in Silesia, mine were princes of the earth— Benjamin/c]}}

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Ancestor often suggests knowledge of identities and family pride in them as persons
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ancestor worship

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they had plenty of money, but apparently no ancestors

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Progenitor differs from ancestor chiefly in its connotations rather than in its implications. It does not exclude parents or grandparents; it usually carries no hint of family or racial feeling, and it often suggests a reference to heredity or the transmission of characters
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do as your great progenitors have done, and, by their virtues, prove yourself their son— Dryden

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men resemble their contemporaries even more than their progenitorsEmerson

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Whenever an evolution is suggested, ancestor and progenitor may be used of living things or of nonliving things (as races, social castes, or literary or artistic forms) that are subject to development; they then often denote one or a kind or group from which a later or a presently existing kind or group has been derived
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the wild ancestors of our domestic animals

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{

Fielding was . . . the progenitor of the modern realistic novel— New Yorker

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Progenitor, even more than ancestor, names the ultimate source or root
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he sang of the nuptials of Janus and Comesena, progenitors of the Italian people— Quiller-Couch

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Forefather is used less often than ancestor in historical writing but is probably more common in poetic and in general use, especially when simplicity of life, strength of family feeling, or persistence of a family in one locality is connoted
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each in his narrow cell forever laid, the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep— Gray

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think of your forefathers! Think of your posterity!— J. Q. Adams

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Forebear is not only less rich in its implications than forefather, but it is also less connotative of sentiment
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the land had been owned by his forebears for generations

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his forebears emigrated from Scotland around 1800

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Antonyms: descendant

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ancestor — an·ces·tor n 1 a: a person from whom an individual is descended: ascendant b: a person from whom an estate descends compare heir 2: one that precedes ancestor in title …   Law dictionary

  • Ancestor — An ces*tor, n. [OE. ancestre, auncestre, also ancessour; the first forms fr. OF. ancestre, F. anc[^e]tre, fr. the L. nom. antessor one who goes before; the last form fr. OF. ancessor, fr. L. acc. antecessorem, fr. antecedere to go before; ante… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ancestor — [an′ses΄tər; ] also [, an′səstər, an′sistər] n. [ME & OFr ancestre < L antecessor, one who goes before < pp. of antecedere < ante , before + cedere, to go] 1. any person from whom one is descended, esp. one earlier in a family line than… …   English World dictionary

  • ancestor — ancestor. См. предок. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • ancestor — (n.) c.1300, ancestre, antecessour, from O.Fr. ancestre (12c., Mod.Fr. ancêtre), from L.L. antecessor predecessor, lit. foregoer, agent noun from pp. stem of L. antecedere to precede, from ante before (see ANTE (Cf. ante)) + ce …   Etymology dictionary

  • ancestor — [n] predecessor in family antecedent, antecessor, ascendant, forebear, forefather, foregoer, foremother, forerunner, founder, precursor, primogenitor, progenitor; concept 414 Ant. descendant …   New thesaurus

  • ancestor — ► NOUN 1) a person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended. 2) something from which a later species or version has evolved. DERIVATIVES ancestral adjective ancestrally adverb ancestress noun. ORIGIN Latin… …   English terms dictionary

  • Ancestor — An ancestor is a parent or (recursively) the parent of an ancestor (i.e., a grandparent, great grandparent, great great grandparent, great great great grandparent, great great great great grandparent, and so forth).Two individuals have a genetic… …   Wikipedia

  • ancestor — 01. My [ancestors] came to this country from Asia thousands of years ago. 02. The sabre tooth tiger is an early [ancestor] of the domestic cat. 03. In my culture, we pray to our [ancestors] every day. 04. The native people have asked the museum… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • ancestor — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ direct ▪ The builder of the house was a direct ancestor of the present owner. ▪ immediate ▪ ancient, distant, early, remote …   Collocations dictionary


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