[an-ses-tris or, esp. British, -suh-stris]
a woman from whom a person is descended.

1570–80; ancest(o)r + -ess

See -ess. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ancestor (ˈænsɛstə)
1.  (often plural) a person from whom another is directly descended, esp someone more distant than a grandparent; forefather
2.  an early type of animal or plant from which a later, usually dissimilar, type has evolved
3.  a person or thing regarded as a forerunner of a later person or thing: the ancestor of the modern camera
[C13: from Old French ancestre, from Late Latin antecēssor one who goes before, from Latin antecēdere; see antecede]
fem n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
In one case the portrait of an old lady, somebody's beloved ancestress, is slashed to ribbons across the face.
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