progenitor

[proh-jen-i-ter]
noun
1.
a biologically related ancestor: a progenitor of the species.
2.
a person or thing that first indicates a direction, originates something, or serves as a model; predecessor; precursor: the progenitor of modern painting.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English < Latin prōgenitor the founder of a family. See pro-1, genitor

progenitorial [proh-jen-i-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-] , adjective
progenitorship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To progenitors
Collins
World English Dictionary
progenitor (prəʊˈdʒɛnɪtə)
 
n
1.  a direct ancestor
2.  an originator or founder of a future development; precursor
 
[C14: from Latin: ancestor, from pro-1 + genitor parent, from gignere to beget]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

progenitor
1382, from Anglo-Fr. progenitour (1347), O.Fr. progeniteur, from L. progenitorem (nom. progenitor) "ancestor," agent noun from progenitus, pp. of progignere (see progeny).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

progenitor pro·gen·i·tor (prō-jěn'ĭ-tər)
n.

  1. A direct ancestor.

  2. An originator of a line of descent.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
They tend to be smaller, with floppier ears and curlier tails than their untamed progenitors.
The perceived importance of a new hominid find is certainly enhanced if it is found to be one of our direct progenitors.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature