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.
ancestor (plural ancestors)
- 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.
- An earlier type; a progenitor
This fossil animal is regarded as the ancestor of the horse.
- (law) One from whom an estate has descended;—the correlative of heir.
- (figuratively) One who had the same role or function in former times.
2011 October 1, Saj Chowdhury, “Wolverhampton 1-2 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport:
- The Magpies are unbeaten and enjoying their best run since 1994, although few would have thought the class of 2011 would come close to emulating their ancestors.
- There is a rare feminine form ancestress