archaism an inclination toward old-fashioned things, speech, or actions, especially those of one’s ancestors. Also archaicism. —archaist, n. —archaistic, adj. atavism the reappearance in the present of a characteristic belonging to a remote ancestor. —atavist, n. —atavistic, adj. lemures Ancient Rome. the malevolent ghosts or spirits of a family’s dead ancestors. matriliny descent through the female line, as in ancestry, inheritance, etc. —matrilineal, matrilinear, adj. patriliny relationship or descent by the male line, as in ancestry, inheritance, etc. —patrilineal, patrilinear, adj. propositus the person from whom a line of descent originates.
- plural form of ancestor