as·​cend | \ə-ˈsend \
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 \ -​ˈsen-​də-​bəl \ adjective

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.

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

King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who ascended to the throne in 2016, has engaged with the public more intensely during the caving crisis than at any time during his brief reign. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who ascended to the throne in 2016, has engaged with the public more intensely during the caving crisis than at any time during his brief reign. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Stateless and Poor, Some Boys in Thai Cave Had Already Beaten Long Odds," 10 July 2018 Marilyn Bentley, who ascended to the position of Clerk of the Baltimore Circuit Court after her two previous bosses died in office, led a crowded field Tuesday in the race to secure the job at the polls. Ian Duncan,, "Marilyn Bentley leads Democratic race for Clerk of the Baltimore Circuit Court," 27 June 2018 And those who ascend to the Cook County bench are lawyers who often have long histories as prosecutors or defense attorneys. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive / Crime / Criminal Justice That time a Cook County judge ruled on the case of a man he himself put in prison when he was still a prosecutor," 25 May 2018 Who will ascend to the title won by Coronado senior Ryan Seggerman last spring? Glae Thien,, "Boys tennis preview: top players, season story lines," 17 Mar. 2018 Jonathan Kraft is 53 years old, and has a good relationship with the 42-year-old Caserio, who should ascend to GM, the 41-year-old McDaniels, who should become head coach when Belichick walks away. Albert Breer,, "Josh McDaniels’ Decision Is Sign That Patriots Future Will Be Guided By New Leadership Core," 8 Feb. 2018 The higher a player ascends, the more his or her parents pay for the privilege. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "For U.S. Men, World Cup Is a Painful Reminder," 8 July 2018 As the plane ascends, the level of oxygen decreases, which can cause rapid decompression for an aircraft that is not pressurized in the same way as a commercial airplane. Celine Hacobian, Time, "Here's How High Planes Actually Fly, According to Experts," 27 June 2018

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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Statistics for ascend

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ascend

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

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More Definitions for ascend



English Language Learners Definition of ascend

: 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 \
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.

as·​cend | \ə-ˈsend \

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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Comments on ascend

What made you want to look up ascend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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