dy·​nas·​ty | \ ˈdī-nə-stē How to pronounce dynasty (audio) also -ˌna-stē, especially British ˈdi-nə-stē \
plural dynasties

Definition of dynasty

1 : a succession of rulers of the same line of descent (see descent sense 1a) a dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years
2 : a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time born into a powerful political dynasty a baseball dynasty

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Other Words from dynasty

dynastic \ dī-​ˈna-​stik How to pronounce dynastic (audio) \ adjective
dynastically \ dī-​ˈna-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce dynastically (audio) \ adverb

Sports Dynasties

Dynasty has been in use in English for over 600 years, for most of that time referring to a ruling family that maintains power through succession. Around the beginning of the 19th century, the word developed the figurative sense “a group or family that dominates a particular field for generations.” Nowadays, this sense of dynasty is often applied to a sports franchise which has a prolonged run of successful seasons. The sports use appears to have begun in the early 20th century. An article in The Washington Post in 1905 refers to “John T. Brush’s baseball dynasty,” and by 1912 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that “if players were free agents at the end of every two years, baseball dynasties such as those built up by the Cubs, Athletics, Detroits and Giants would not be possible.”

Dynasty Has Greek Roots

Dynast and dynasty both descend from the Greek verb dynasthai, which means "to be able" or "to have power." Dynasty came to prominence in English first; it has been part of our language since at least the 14th century. Dynast took its place in the linguistic family line in the early 1600s, and it has been used to describe sovereigns and other rulers ever since.

Examples of dynasty in a Sentence

a dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years There was a civil war during the dynasty. She was born into a powerful political dynasty.
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Recent Examples on the Web Second-round pick Draymond Green aided the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Kevin Porter Jr. shows potential to be franchise building block: Cleveland Cavaliers Season Review," 29 June 2020 Kyoto, Japan’s cultural heart, was laid out in emulation of the Tang dynasty capital of Chang’an (modern-day Xi’an). The Economist, "Banyan A supposed detente between Japan and China is already fading," 27 June 2020 The assassination of Julius Caesar one year earlier had sparked a seventeen-year power struggle that would lead to the demise of the Roman Republic and the Ptolemaic dynasty that governed ancient Egypt and the dawn of the Roman Empire. Kate Baggaley, Popular Science, "A massive volcanic eruption may have contributed to the rise of the Roman Empire," 25 June 2020 But in Massachusetts, the former is the scion of the state’s most powerful political dynasty, and the veteran has the backing of liberals known for taking on the establishment, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.). Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Kennedy-Markey Senate Battle Heats Up in Massachusetts," 8 June 2020 Even for those who came of age after the end of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty, the series kindled offshoots of debate over how that decade’s best compares with the NBA's biggest stars of the present. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Yankees, Cowboys among 1990s teams worthy of 'The Last Dance' treatment," 20 May 2020 The Last Dance’ The second installment of ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary series tells the story of the birth of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty and its two star rebels. Los Angeles Times, "Column: ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ docuseries was an unfinished symphony until just recently," 1 May 2020 Trump has basked in the praise and sought to highlight compliments from Cuomo, a lifelong Democrat and the scion of one of the state’s most storied political dynasties. Justin Sink, Bloomberg.com, "Cuomo Cites Focus on More Tests in Moment of Detente With Trump," 14 Apr. 2020 The Cuomo family is a veritable New York political dynasty, starting with the family's patriarch, the former New York Governor. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "The Cuomo Family Tree: Sparring Brothers & A Surprising Kennedy Connection," 9 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dynasty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dynasty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dynasty

Middle English dynastia, dynastie "power, sovereignty, succession of rulers," borrowed from Medieval Latin dynastīa, going back to Late Latin, "rule, power," borrowed from Greek dynasteía "arbitrarily exercised political power, lordship, rule," from dynástēs "holder of political power, lord, ruler" + -eia -y entry 2 — more at dynast

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The first known use of dynasty was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dynasty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dynasty. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for dynasty


How to pronounce dynasty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dynasty

: a family of rulers who rule over a country for a long period of time also : the period of time when a particular dynasty is in power
: a family, team, etc., that is very powerful or successful for a long period of time


dy·​nas·​ty | \ ˈdī-nə-stē How to pronounce dynasty (audio) \
plural dynasties

Kids Definition of dynasty

: a series of rulers of the same family

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