December 19, 2014
ancestor (noun)
\AN-sess-ter\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : one from whom an individual, group, or species is descended2 : something from which something else has developed : forerunner
How do you use it?
"The pupils were better dressed and better looking than were those of my time; consequently they did not resemble their ancestors; and consequently there was nothing familiar to me in their faces." (Mark Twain, _Life on the Mississippi_)
Are you a word wiz?

The English word "ancestor" comes from Latin ancestors. How old do you think the word "ancestor" is?

"Ancestor" dates back to the 1200s, making it about 800 years old. It was adopted into Middle English from Anglo-French (the French language used in Medieval England.) The Anglo-French word "ancestre" was formed from the Latin word "antecessor" which means "predecessor" ("one who goes before"). We can trace "antecessor" to its roots in the Latin words "ante-" meaning "before" and "cedere" meaning "to go." Both "ante-" and "cedere" are ancestors of a number of English words. Descendants on the "ante-" side include "advance," "ancient," and "anticipate" while the "cedere" side of the family includes "cease," "exceed," "precede," and "succeed."
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