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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
  • He is not notably nepotistic and has not favored his ancestral village or immediate family.
  • On the other hand, there is a hierarchy among tutelary and ancestral gods.
  • They will find a way to keep the ancestral spirits alive.
  • The result is a claim that ancestral voices have told them how to resolve present legal disputes.
  • These ancestral creatures were stranger than anyone ever expected.
  • Forensic scientists could tell you a skull's ancestral continent.
  • The idea was that by raising animals that met such standards, small local farmers might stanch the loss of ancestral lands.
  • From the ancestral time the world space research established on blind theory.
  • Not only was that world ancestral to ours, it was in some sense alternative as well.
  • But on the origin of those species-exactly how one ancestral species divides into many-the book is largely silent.
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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