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[ped-i-gree] /ˈpɛd ɪˌgri/
an ancestral line; line of descent; lineage; ancestry.
a genealogical table, chart, list, or record, especially of a purebred animal.
distinguished, excellent, or pure ancestry.
derivation, origin, or history:
the pedigree of a word.
Origin of pedigree
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English pedegru < Anglo-French, equivalent to Middle French pie de grue literally, foot of crane, a fanciful way of describing the appearance of the lines of a genealogical chart
Related forms
pedigreeless, adjective
2. Pedigree, genealogy refer to an account of ancestry. A pedigree is a table or chart recording a line of ancestors, either of persons or (more especially) of animals, as horses, cattle, and dogs; in the case of animals, such a table is used as proof of superior qualities: a detailed pedigree. A genealogy is an account of the descent of a person or family traced through a series of generations, usually from the first known ancestor: a genealogy that includes a king. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for pedigree


  1. the line of descent of a purebred animal
  2. (as modifier): a pedigree bull
a document recording this
a genealogical table, esp one indicating pure ancestry
derivation or background: the pedigree of an idea
Derived Forms
pedigreed, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Old French pie de grue crane's foot, alluding to the spreading lines used in a genealogical chart
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 pedigree

early 15c., "genealogical table or chart," from Anglo-French pe de gru, a variant of Old French pied de gru "foot of a crane," from Latin pedem accusative of pes "foot" (see foot (n.)) + gruem (nominative grus) "crane," cognate with Greek geranos, Old English cran; see crane (n.)).

On old manuscripts, "descent" was indicated by a forked sign resembling the branching lines of a genealogical chart; the sign also happened to look like a bird's footprint. Form influenced in Middle English by association with degree. Meaning "ancestral line" is mid-15c.; of animals, c.1600. Related: Pedigreed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pedigree in Medicine

pedigree ped·i·gree (pěd'ĭ-grē')
An ancestral line of descent, especially as diagrammed on a chart, to show ancestral history and to analyze Mendelian inheritance of certain traits including familial diseases.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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