a suffix used to form nouns either from adjectives in -ant or from verbs:
indicating an action, state or condition, or quality: hindrance, tenancy, resemblance Compare -ence
word-forming element attached to verbs to form abstract nouns of process or fact (convergence from converge), or of state or quality (absence from absent); ultimately from Latin -antia and -entia, which depended on the vowel in the stem word.
As Old French evolved from Latin, these were leveled to -ance, but later French borrowings from Latin (some of them subsequently passed to English) used the appropriate Latin form of the ending, as did words borrowed by English directly from Latin (diligence, absence).
English thus inherited a confused mass of words from French and further confused it since c.1500 by restoring -ence selectively in some forms of these words to conform with Latin. Thus dependant, but independence, etc.
- Ancestor worship
(in certain societies) the veneration of ancestors whose spirits are frequently held to possess the power to influence the affairs of the living. Historical Examples From this has arisen the most powerful cult, ancestor worship, that at present exists in China. Sidelights on Chinese Life J. Macgowan The basis, however, of Chinese religious thought is […]
a person from whom one is descended; forebear; progenitor. Biology. the actual or hypothetical form or stock from which an organism has developed or descended. an object, idea, style, or occurrence serving as a prototype, forerunner, or inspiration to a later one: The balloon is an ancestor of the modern dirigible. a person who serves […]
pertaining to ; descending or claimed from : an ancestral home. serving as a forerunner, prototype, or inspiration. Contemporary Examples She turned that ancestral home into a school—and is fighting to give girls a better future. A Fashionista’s India Dream: Indrani Changes the Fate of Forgotten Girls Abigail Pesta July 9, 2012 Even tony Greenwich, […]
a woman from whom a person is descended. Historical Examples He had a tale to tell about one ancestress, whose dark beauty seemed as that of a flower of the south. Shirley Charlotte Bront The girl read and re-read the description of this ancestress, then gasped. The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck The family name […]