Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person from whom one is descended, especially if more remote than a grandparent; a forebear.
  • n. A forerunner or predecessor.
  • n. Law The person from whom an estate has been inherited.
  • n. Biology The actual or hypothetical organism or stock from which later kinds evolved.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One from whom a person is descended, whether on the father's or mother's side, at any distance of time; a progenitor; a forefather.
  • n. An earlier type; a progenitor
  • n. One from whom an estate has descended;—the correlative of heir.
  • n. One who had the same role or function in former times.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One from whom a person is descended, whether on the father's or mother's side, at any distance of time; a progenitor; a fore father.
  • n. An earlier type; a progenitor.
  • n. One from whom an estate has descended; -- the correlative of heir.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One from whom a person is descended in the line of either father or mother; a forefather; a progenitor.
  • n. In law, one, whether a progenitor or a collateral relative, who has preceded another in the course of inheritance; one from whom an inheritance is derived: the correlative of heir: sometimes used specifically of the immediate progenitor.
  • n. In biology, according to the theory of evolution, the hypothetical form or stock, of an earlier and presumably lower type, from which any organized being is inferred to have been directly or indirectly developed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English auncestre, from Old French, from Latin antecessor, predecessor, from antecessus, past participle of antecēdere, to precede : ante-, ante- + cēdere, to go; see ked- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English ancestre, auncestre, ancessour; the first forms from Old French ancestre (modern French ancêtre), from the Latin nominative antecessor one who goes before; the last form from Old French ancessor, from Latin accusative antecessorem, from antecedo ("to go before"); ante ("before") + cedo ("to go"). See cede, and compare with antecessor.

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