ancestry

ancestry, lineage, pedigree mean either one’s progenitors collectively or their quality or character as a whole. The words, however, are clearly distinguishable.
Ancestry in its most restricted use evokes the image of a family tree with its ramification by geometrical progression of branches or roots the further it is traced forward or backward
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only by the fusion of two parent cells can an offspring cell enjoy the advantages of joint heredity and pass on the traits of both ancestriesLa Barre

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In broader use ancestry often suggests one’s progenitors in general, known or unknown, a cause of pride often, but sometimes of indifference or of shame
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no one is responsible for his ancestry, but his ancestry is to a certain extent responsible for his qualities

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Lineage stresses descent in a line; it evokes therefore the image of a list of the persons who in order of generation are descended from a single ancestor
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the evangelist Matthew traced the lineage of Jesus by each step from Abraham down

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lineage is reckoned through the mother; the Zuñi are matrilineal— Kardiner

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For this reason lineage is often used as the equivalent of race
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though of a lineage once abhorred— Wordsworth

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Pedigree is even more definite in its suggestions, for it implies a known and recorded ancestry that is typically distinguished or notable
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who proud of pedigree, is poor of purse— Pope

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the deference due to a man of pedigreeGilbert

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The term is applied to the ancestry of persons, and to that of animals and plants propagated under controlled conditions.
Antonyms: descendants: posterity

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ancestry — I noun affiliation, ascendants, blood, blood relationship, blood tie, bloodline, cognation, connection, consanguinity, derivation, descent, family, family connection, family tree, filiation, forebears, forefathers, former generations, genealogy,… …   Law dictionary

  • Ancestry — An ces*try, n. [Cf. OF. ancesserie. See {Ancestor}.] 1. Condition as to ancestors; ancestral lineage; hence, birth or honorable descent. [1913 Webster] Title and ancestry render a good man more illustrious, but an ill one more contemptible.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ancestry — (n.) early 14c., from O.Fr. ancesserie ancestry, ancestors, forefathers, from ancestre (see ANCESTOR (Cf. ancestor)); spelling modified in English by influence of ancestor …   Etymology dictionary

  • ancestry — [n] family predecessors; family history ancestor, antecedent, antecessor, blood, breed, breeding, derivation, descent, extraction, forebear, forefather, foregoer, foremother, forerunner, genealogy, heritage, house, kindred, line, lineage, origin …   New thesaurus

  • ancestry — ► NOUN (pl. ancestries) ▪ a person s ancestors or ethnic origins …   English terms dictionary

  • ancestry — [an′ses΄trē; ] also [, an′səstrē, an′sistrē] n. pl. ancestries [ME ancestrie < OFr ancesserie < ancestre, ANCESTOR] 1. family descent or lineage 2. ancestors collectively: opposed to POSTERITY 3. noble or distinguished descent …   English World dictionary

  • ancestry — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ common, shared ▪ The two species have developed from a common ancestry. ▪ African, Japanese, etc. VERB + ANCESTRY …   Collocations dictionary

  • ancestry — n. 1) to trace one s ancestry 2) of (a certain) ancestry (to be of French ancestry) * * * [ ænsəstrɪ] to trace one s ancestry of (a certain) ancestry (to be of French ancestry) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • ancestry — an|ces|try [ˈænsəstri, ses US ses ] n plural ancestries [C usually singular, U] formal the members of your family who lived a long time ago of ... ancestry ▪ Her mother is of German ancestry (=has German ancestors) . ▪ Helen s family can trace… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • ancestry — /an ses tree/ or, esp. Brit., / seuh stree/, n., pl. ancestries. 1. family or ancestral descent; lineage. 2. honorable or distinguished descent: famous by title and ancestry. 3. a series of ancestors: His ancestry settled Utah. 4. the inception… …   Universalium

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