Definition of progenitor in English:



  • 1A person or thing from which a person, animal, or plant is descended or originates; an ancestor or parent.

    ‘his sons and daughters were the progenitors of many of Scotland's leading noble families’
    • ‘The comparison of newly formed polyploids with their haploid progenitors has revealed that nascent polyploids have a defect in stationary-phase viability.’
    • ‘Indeed, some genes originating from different progenitors are expressed in specific tissues or at different developmental stages, as demonstrated in cotton.’
    • ‘The progenitor of the mutant allele was assumed to be the parental allele that was closest in size to the mutant allele.’
    • ‘The result is premature apoptosis (programmed cell death) of progenitors and failure of stem cells to mature and differentiate.’
    • ‘More significantly, this less-than-proportional increase in genome size in a polyploid species expected from the addition of its diploid progenitors appeared to be a widespread phenomenon in flowering plants.’
    • ‘Boxes represent extant groups and their ancestral progenitors.’
    • ‘The domestication of plants from their wild progenitors has led to the production of a wide variety of crops that share a number of traits.’
    • ‘Wolfe offers an updated understanding of fraternities as social lockboxes far removed from their bawdy Animal House progenitors.’
    • ‘We examined the segments of repeats of 16 strains, each descended from different wild progenitors.’
    • ‘Currently, six major tetraploid races are recognized and their diploid progenitors have been identified.’
    • ‘We also wished to explore patterns of gene evolution in polyploid cotton, using as a comparative framework orthologs from the diploid progenitors.’
    • ‘The results from these studies are generally consistent with theoretical expectations of higher genetic diversity in tetraploids than their diploid progenitors.’
    • ‘These lines were derived as recombinants from the same progenitor, and their right ends are very likely the same.’
    • ‘The radon gas will then also decay into radioactive solid particles, called radon daughters or radon progenitors.’
    • ‘Note that copy numbers in tetraploids were slightly less than double those in respective diploid progenitors.’
    • ‘The person who donates DNA from a somatic cell is the progenitor, in that the child carries that person's DNA.’
    • ‘For example, the unicellular progenitors of plants underwent an important evolutionary step following the establishment of a second endosymbiotic relationship, resulting in the evolution of the plastid.’
    • ‘There is, however, evidence of genome downsizing in polyploids relative to their diploid progenitors in some cases.’
    • ‘In some sense, every model organism needs to be developed and selected from its natural progenitors, and no organism will be an entirely ideal model.’
    • ‘Single-spore isolates were paired with their respective compatible mating types from the progenitor to establish progeny dikaryons.’
    ancestor, forefather, forebear, parent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person who originates an artistic, political, or intellectual movement.
      ‘the progenitor of modern jazz’
      • ‘The record, and the subsequent Live Aid concerts, yoked the two men together as blood-oath crusaders against the famine in Ethiopia, the progenitors of popular culture's most decisive intervention into global politics.’
      • ‘Both international law and domestic legal norms in the Christian world had roots in an accepted morality and in natural law, and had common intellectual progenitors (including Grotius, Locke, Vattel).’
      • ‘That defiant self-contempt defines the Velvet's status as the first post-modern band and the progenitor of the entire punk/new wave movement.’
      • ‘Coase is the progenitor of the modern theory of the firm.’
      • ‘Debussy stands with Mussorgsky, Mahler, Reger, and Strauss among the great progenitors of Modernism.’
      • ‘He is that eminent Victorian Charles Darwin, the progenitor of the theory of evolution.’
      • ‘Instead, she bestows a life and a self on modernity that seems to be independent of politics or its intellectual progenitors, and can therefore be whatever the author wants.’
      • ‘This concern is evidenced by the very designation of the movement as Realism-a name significantly awarded by its own progenitors rather than by literary historians.’
      originator, founder, instigator, source
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French progeniteur, from Latin progenitor, from progenit- begotten from the verb progignere, from pro- forward + gignere beget.