Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “ancestor”


noun [C] uk   /ˈæər/ us    /-tɚ/
B2 a person related to you who lived a long time ago: There were portraits of his ancestors on the walls of the room.
Ancestors and descendants
a plant, animal, or object that is related to one existing at a later point in time: This wooden instrument is the ancestor of the modern metal flute.Ancestors and descendants
adjective [before noun] uk   /ænˈses.trəl/ us  
an ancestral home ancestral rightsAncestors and descendants
(Definition of ancestor from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of ancestor?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “ancestor” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a small company that makes beer, usually using traditional methods, and often has a restaurant where its beer is served

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More