Definition of agnate in English:



  • A person descended from the same male ancestor as another specified or implied person, especially through the male line.

    • ‘The deceased's closest agnate, Amalyce, also claimed that he didn't know where they were.’
    • ‘Men's social identity is almost entirely connected to the reputation of their agnatic Houses as well as the nature of their relations with agnates.’
    • ‘To make things more complicated, all distinction between agnates and cognates in matters of succession had been abolished at the very time when the great collection of Roman law, the Corpus juris civilis, had been assembled and codified.’
    • ‘Most of these marriages were strongly resisted by the kinsfolk of the parties, particularly those that involved agnates from the same village, though none of them were from the same hamlet.’
    • ‘A protagonist's supporters, mostly close agnates, are motivated to assist because of the desire to help a brother, that is through conventional motivation.’


  • Descended from the same male ancestor as a specified or implied subject, especially through the male line.

    Compare with cognate
    • ‘He was an agnate descendant of Saint James the Just, Patriarch of Israel and first Christian Bishop of Jerusalem, and as such, head of the Royal Davidic House of Israel.’
    • ‘This second column on “Tycoons, New England, and Kings,” covers the royal descents, and much New England ancestry, for 10 families long associated with American industry, finance, merchandising, railroads, and media, for whom such lines were first brought into the family not by the fortune-finder himself, but by his wife, daughter-in-law, granddaughter-in-law, or the wife of a later agnate descendant.’
    • ‘A known agnate descendant of his brother Jarvis Wingfield was tested and shown to be a definite non-match to the profile closely shared by the descendants of the 3 brothers and the descendant of the English Wingfield.’
    • ‘Leo's great site however shows Sir William and Margaret (Morville) Washington as having had a son Robert, agnate ancestor of President George Washington.’
    • ‘And the connection must be through an agnate ancestor some generations older than the Royal personage.’


Late 15th century (as a noun): from Latin agnatus, from ad- to + gnatus, natus born.