origin / ancestry


origin: a person's social and family background
ancestry: the family or the race of people that you come from
(from the OALD)

The plane was carrying 90 people, including 83 passengers and 7 crew. Aridi identified the passengers as 54 Lebanese, 22 Ethiopians, one Iraqi, one Syrian, one Canadian of Lebanese origin, one Russian of Lebanese origin, a French woman and two Britons of Lebanese origin.

In this context, is origin interchangeable with "ancestry"?
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I would say yes, but I would mention that you shouldn't use both terms in the same sentence simply to avoid repeating the word; otherwise, you'll have readers wondering if there's a difference.


    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    There's a slight difference in my mind (and perhaps only in my mind) in that someone of Lebanese ancestry was definitely not born in Lebanon but their parents (or more likely grandparents were).

    Someone of Lebanese origin may well have been born in Lebanon and naturalised Canadian/British/Russian.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Impressions ...
    Of Lebanese origin - from Lebanon, probably having been born and brought up there.
    Of Lebanese ancestry - parents/grandparents (for example) were "of Lebanese origin".
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