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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.