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
  1. noun
    the descendants of one individual
    synonyms: ancestry, blood, blood line, bloodline, descent, line, line of descent, lineage, origin, parentage, stemma, stock
    see moresee less
    show 7 types...
    hide 7 types...
    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
    ancestry of a purebred animal
    synonyms: bloodline
    see moresee less
    type of:
    ancestry, derivation, filiation, lineage
    inherited properties shared with others of your bloodline
  3. noun
    line of descent of a purebred animal
    see moresee less
    type of:
    breed, stock, strain
    a special variety of domesticated animals within a species
  4. noun
    the history and background of someone or something, especially as a sign of quality, status, or legitimacy
    see moresee less
    type of:
    position, status
    the relative position or standing of things or especially persons in a society
  5. adjective
    having a list of ancestors as proof of being a purebred animal
    synonyms: pedigreed, pureblood, pureblooded, thoroughbred
    bred for many generations from member of a recognized breed or strain
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week