The noun pedigree refers to the genetic background of an animal, although it is sometimes applied to people as well. A purebred dog, for example, comes with a verified pedigree, a list of all past parentage.

The preoccupation with pedigree isn't new -— the concern for human pedigree can be seen in the Bible, where generations are meticulously recorded. Pedigree, referring to a genealogical chart, appeared in 1410 from the Anglo-French pe de gru, meaning "foot of a crane," referring to the chart’s tree — like lines, which looked like the print of a crane's foot. The importance of pedigree extends to animals such as dogs and horses, with breeders careful to follow the animal's lines to assure "purity."

Definitions of pedigree

n the descendants of one individual

ancestry, blood, blood line, bloodline, descent, line, line of descent, lineage, origin, parentage, 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

n ancestry of a purebred animal

Type of:
ancestry, derivation, filiation, lineage
inherited properties shared with others of your bloodline

n line of descent of a purebred animal

Type of:
breed, stock, strain
a special variety of domesticated animals within a species

adj having a list of ancestors as proof of being a purebred animal

pedigreed, pureblood, pureblooded, thoroughbred
bred for many generations from member of a recognized breed or strain

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