as·​cend | \ ə-ˈsend How to pronounce ascend (audio) \
ascended; ascending; ascends

Definition of ascend

intransitive verb

1a : to move upward the balloon ascended
b : to slope upward The path ascends through the woods.
c : to conduct nerve impulses toward or to the brain an ascending somatosensory pathway
2a : to rise from a lower level or degree ascend to power
b : to go back in time or in order of genealogical succession
c : to pass from lower to higher musical notes C – E ascending

transitive verb

1 : to go or move up ascend a staircase
2 : to succeed to : occupy ascend the throne

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Other Words from ascend

ascendable or ascendible \ ə-​ˈsen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce ascend (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ascend in a Sentence

They watched their balloons slowly ascend into the sky. Divers must not ascend too rapidly to the water's surface. She believed that when she died, her soul would ascend to heaven. Several paths ascend to the top of the mountain. stairs ascending to the attic John Adams ascended to the presidency in 1797. She worked as a clerk before ascending to her current position.
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Recent Examples on the Web Chip Scoggins joins Michael Rand from the NCAA Women's Final Four in San Antonio to talk about his big story on former Hopkins standout Paige Bueckers, whose stardom has only continued to ascend in college. Howard Sinker, Star Tribune, "Paige Bueckers, superstar; Twins opener, meltdown," 2 Apr. 2021 But anyway, those stars are hoping to ascend at a moment when government is back., "Such a downer," 27 Mar. 2021 In 2017, Republicans expanded the judicial carveout for the filibuster to include Supreme Court confirmations, clearing the way for Justice Neil Gorsuch to ascend to the high court. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "What is the filibuster? A look at the Senate’s consequential quirk and debate on its future," 20 Mar. 2021 Historically, our market bottoms out over a period of weeks before gradually beginning to ascend. Frederick Peters, Forbes, "Hoping To Time The NYC Real Estate Market? Buyers May Be Cutting It Close," 9 Mar. 2021 Texas lost that week at Texas Tech — Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree in the final seconds as the Red Raiders shocked the Longhorns — to open the door for Alabama to ascend. Ralph D. Russo,, "Alabama and Notre Dame are 1-2 in the new AP college football poll, while Northwestern enters the rankings at No. 23," 8 Nov. 2020 Women started long ago to pave the way for Harris to ascend to an unprecedented position in American politics. USA Today, "Meet the women in politics who paved the way for Kamala Harris," 7 Nov. 2020 Coming off a recent win for Best Supporting Actress, Regina King seemed like the kind of Oscar favorite who would naturally ascend from an acting category to the directing one. Brian Tallerico, Rolling Stone, "Oscars 2021: Delroy Lindo, Regina King and Other Biggest Nomination Snubs," 15 Mar. 2021 To those in the HBCU community, watching fellow graduates ascend to historic heights is not new or surprising. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "How HBCUs are changing the face of business and political leadership," 4 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ascend.' 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 ascend

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for ascend

Middle English, from Latin ascendere, from ad- + scandere to climb — more at scan

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Time Traveler for ascend

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ascend

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ascend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for ascend



English Language Learners Definition of ascend

formal : to go up : to rise or move toward the sky
: to slope or lead upward
: to rise to a higher or more powerful position in a government, company, etc.


as·​cend | \ ə-ˈsend How to pronounce ascend (audio) \
ascended; ascending

Kids Definition of ascend

1 : to go or move up We ascended the hill.
2 : to rise to a higher or more powerful position Abraham Lincoln ascended to the presidency in 1861.

Choose the Right Synonym for ascend

ascend, mount, and climb mean to move upward or toward the top. ascend is used for a gradual upward movement. We slowly ascended the staircase. mount is used for reaching the very top of something. Soldiers mounted the hill and placed a flag there. climb is used when effort and often the hands and feet are needed to move up something. Explorers climbed the rugged mountain.

as·​cend | \ ə-ˈsend How to pronounce ascend (audio) \

Medical Definition of ascend

: to move upward: as
a : to conduct nerve impulses toward or to the brain nerve fibers that ascend to a nucleus of the brain ascending and descending tracts
b : to affect the extremities and especially the lower limbs first and then the central nervous system ascending paralysis

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