• WordNet 3.6
    • n ancestor someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent)
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: No evidence of man's evolutionary ancestors has so far been found in either North or South America. Fossils and other remains suggest that the first Americans crossed the Bering Straits (which at the time was dry land) from Asia between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.
    • Ancestor (Biol) An earlier type; a progenitor; as, this fossil animal is regarded as the ancestor of the horse.
    • Ancestor 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.
    • Ancestor (Law) One from whom an estate has descended; -- the correlative of heir.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The lemur of Madagascar is one of very few of the human species' ancestors that has survived unchanged down the long corridors of evolution. Having developed after the first primates, it is classified as a prosimian, meaning "before monkey," and is one of the ancestors common to both monkeys and men.
    • n ancestor One from whom a person is descended in the line of either father or mother; a forefather; a progenitor.
    • n ancestor 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 ancestor 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.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Ancestor an′ses-tur one from whom a person has descended: a forefather
    • ***


  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “The ancestor of every action is thought.”
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
    “Every man is an omnibus in which his ancestors ride.”
  • Sir Thomas Overbore
    Sir Thomas Overbore
    “The person who has nothing to brag about but their ancestors is like a potato; the best part of them is underground.”
  • Plutarch
    “It is indeed a desirable thing to be well-descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.”
  • Proverb
    “From our ancestors come our names from our virtues our honor.”
  • German Proverb
    German Proverb
    “Mules are always boasting that their ancestors were horses.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. ancestre, auncestre, also ancessour,; the first forms fr. OF. ancestre, F. ancêtre, 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, before + cedere, to go. See Cede, and cf. Antecessor
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. ancestre—L. antecessorante, before, cedĕre, cessum, to go.


In literature:

Then there came to our ancestors an elder spirit, the White Bear, who led them out the womb of our Mother.
"Shaman" by Robert Shea
And this, while beating a retreat and cursing his father and his uncle and their ancestors back to fifty generations.
"The Book of Khalid" by Ameen Rihani
The ancestors of the birds, on the other hand, boldly transformed their scales into feathers.
"The Meaning of Evolution" by Samuel Christian Schmucker
It was from our ancestors that ascendency received its death-blow.
"Ireland as It Is" by Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
He is that unhappy being, the youngest son of a younger son, and he has more ancestors than money.
"The Dominant Strain" by Anna Chapin Ray
Here lived the ancestors of King Henry VIII.
"England, Picturesque and Descriptive" by Joel Cook
Ruth does not care much for coats-of-arms or titles, but would rather be sure of what a man is, rather than who were his ancestors.
"Daughters of the Revolution and Their Times" by Charles Carleton Coffin
Spirits of ancestors and other spirits.
"History of Religion" by Allan Menzies
The caterpillar, for example, resembles the worm which is the ancestor of the insects.
"The Sexual Question" by August Forel
Emperors and kings of future times honor Guest of the Rocks as the ancestor and master of the pure sun.
"The Chinese Fairy Book" by Various

In poetry:

Of old my Quaker ancestors
Had gifts of forty stripes save one;
To-day as many roses crown
The gray head of their son.
"Winter Roses" by John Greenleaf Whittier
The brave Buccleuch of ancient fame,
The valiant Douglas is the same,
Through Britain their renowned name,
Being lords of state;
Of noble ancestors they came,
Whose fame is great.
"The Beauty Of Virtue" by Susannah Hawkins
Oh! Erin my country, my ancestor's home!
Impelled by my wants, I, from thee, had to roam;
And now my heart yearneth, sore longeth for thee
My dear native Ireland, my "gem of the sea."
"Song To Erin" by Mary Weston Fordham
My ancestors are turned to clay,
And many of my mates are gone;
My youngers daily drop away,
And can I think to 'scape alone?
No, no, I know that I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.
"Upon The Image Of Death" by Robert Southwell
I'm proud that the mother who bore us was Russian;
That Russian I'll fall as my ancestors fell;
That going to battle, the woman was Russian,
Who kissed me three times in a Russian farewell!
"Smolensk Roads" by Konstantin Simonov
It seemed that in each Russian village we passed through,
The hands of our ancestors under the sod
Were making the sign of the cross and protecting
Their children, no longer believers in god.
"Smolensk Roads" by Konstantin Simonov

In news:

Ancient Bear May Be Ancestor of Giant Panda.
Fossils of the earliest bear recorded in the Iberian Peninsula have been discovered in Spain, and researchers believe it was the oldest ancestor of the panda bear.
Maggie Gyllenhaal learns about the genesis of the Gyllenhaal name and Henry Louis Gates, Jr corrects a long-standing story in Maggie Gyllenhaal's family about an ancestor who supposedly collected butterflies.
Stone spear tips may be product of earlier ancestor .
Earlier human ancestor made stone spear tips 500,000 years ago, study says.
Genetic evidence suggests the ancestors of giant pandas diverged from other bears 18 million to 22 million years ago.
This is based on the fact that most bear cubs have this coloration — in many animals, biological patterns seen among the young reflect what their ancestors were like.
It was also the first time that Native Americans of the Mohican Tribe attended the event to honor their ancestors .
Yet the ceremony was an important step in honoring their ancestors and the past.
But in the spirit of genealogy and Halloween, here are some tips on finding your ancestors ' death records.
To find out when that was for your ancestor 's state, download our free US Vital Records Chart (PDF document) from here.
Faces of Our Ancestors .
Humans are part of the rare exceptions, since our more recent ancestors left the trees some 60 million years after Purgatorius' lifetime.
View full size Casey Parks/The Oregonian The Ancestor Tree -- pictured behind a rock climbing wall in June -- will be removed from McCoy Park this month as a safety precaution.
Family's history includes ancestor who knew Lincoln.

In science:

Note that all ancestors of X are nondescendants of X .
Conditional Plausibility Measures and Bayesian Networks
We join two species by an edge if we think they might have had a direct common ancestor.
Semigroups, rings, and Markov chains
Assume, for simplicity, that G is connected, so that all species ultimately evolved from one common ancestor.
Semigroups, rings, and Markov chains
These can be thought of as indicating the strength of our belief that two species have a direct common ancestor; alternatively, they might indicate how recently we think they diverged from that ancestor.
Semigroups, rings, and Markov chains
We can think of this as representing a feasible reconstruction of the phylogenetic tree describing the evolution from the original common ancestor to the present-day situation, in reverse chronological order.
Semigroups, rings, and Markov chains