noun, plural ge·ne·al·o·gies.

  1. a record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person, family, group, etc.
  2. the study of family ancestries and histories.
  3. descent from an original form or progenitor; lineage; ancestry.
  4. Biology. a group of individuals or species having a common ancestry: The various species of Darwin’s finches form a closely knit genealogy.

noun plural -gies

  1. the direct descent of an individual or group from an ancestor
  2. the study of the evolutionary development of animals and plants from earlier forms
  3. a chart showing the relationships and descent of an individual, group, genes, etc

1570s, from French généalogique (see genealogy) + -al (1). Earlier in the same sense was genealogial (mid-15c.). Related: Genealogically.


early 14c., “line of descent, pedigree, descent,” from Old French genealogie (12c.), from Late Latin genealogia “tracing of a family,” from Greek genealogia, from genea “generation, descent” (see genus) + -logia (see -logy). An Old English word for it was folctalu, literally “folk tale.” Meaning “study of family trees” is from 1768.


  1. A record or table of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or ancestors; a family tree.
  2. The study or investigation of ancestry and family histories.

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