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[an-ses-truh l] /ænˈsɛs trəl/
pertaining to ancestors; descending or claimed from ancestors:
an ancestral home.
serving as a forerunner, prototype, or inspiration.
Origin of ancestral
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English aunce(s)trel < Middle French, equivalent to ancestre ancestor + -el -al1
Related forms
ancestrally, adverb
nonancestral, adjective
nonancestrally, adverb
pseudoancestral, adjective
pseudoancestrally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ancestral
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In a deity essentially Greek, a Phoenician colonist may discover something familiar, and claim an ancestral god.

  • "I'll take you up and show you our ancestral hut," declared Bob Martin.

    The Innocent Adventuress Mary Hastings Bradley
  • We trust that your fair partner, who shares some of our ancestral blood, is in good health.

    Quentin Durward Sir Walter Scott
  • Here, after eighteen years, was he again in his ancestral home of Marleigh.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • If the duchess is proud of her blue blood and her ancestral tree, so is the Gypsy of her black blood and lengthy pedigree.

    The Gypsy's Parson George Hall
British Dictionary definitions for ancestral


of, inherited from, or derived from ancestors: his ancestral home
(logic) a relation that holds between x and y if there is a chain of instances of a given relation leading from x to y. Thus the ancestral of parent of is ancestor of, since x is the ancestor of y if and only if x is a parent of…a parent of…a parent of y
Derived Forms
ancestrally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ancestral

1520s, from Old French ancestrel (Anglo-French auncestrel), from ancestre (see ancestor). Related: Ancestrally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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