a. A line of ancestors; a lineage.
b. A list of ancestors; a family tree.
2. A chart of an individual's ancestors used in human genetics to analyze Mendelian inheritance of certain traits, especially of familial diseases.
3. A list of the ancestors of a purebred animal.
4. A continuous history or series of precedents, especially considered as evidence of respectability or legitimacy: "The practice of larding legislation with special interest lucre has, of course, a lengthy pedigree in American politics" (Jonathan Chait).
[Middle English pedegru, from Anglo-Norman pe de grue : pe, foot (from Latin pēs; see PEDI-) + de, of (from Latin dē; see DE-) + grue, crane (from the resemblance of a crane's foot to the lines of succession on a genealogical chart) (from Vulgar Latin *grūā, from Latin grūs, gru-; see gerə-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus