Have a family tree hanging on the wall? Then you know a bit about your ancestry, or family history and lineage.

If you think ancestry sounds like ancestor, then you're headed in the right direction. Ancestry is basically a history of ancestors, a trail of where your family started and all the descendants that followed. But ancestry goes much further than just your great-great-grand uncle's brother. You can also use the word ancestry to refer to the background of things other than people — such as the ancestry of a building or the ancestry of a nation.

Definitions of ancestry
  1. noun
    the lineage of an individual
    synonyms: blood, blood line, bloodline, descent, line, line of descent, lineage, origin, parentage, pedigree, stemma, stock
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    family, family line, folk, kinfolk, kinsfolk, phratry, sept
    people descended from a common ancestor
    a family line of descent
    members of a family line
    the people of your home locality (especially your own family)
    aristocratic family line
    a sequence of powerful leaders in the same family
    gens, name
    family based on male descent
    type of:
    family tree, genealogy
    successive generations of kin
  2. noun
    inherited properties shared with others of your bloodline
    synonyms: derivation, filiation, lineage
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    descent, extraction, origin
    properties attributable to your ancestry
    bloodline, pedigree
    ancestry of a purebred animal
    full blood
    descent from parents both of one pure breed
    type of:
    hereditary pattern, inheritance
    (genetics) attributes acquired via biological heredity from the parents
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