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 ascendible (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 In 1942, to prevent an ascending spiral of wage increases (as employers tried to outbid each other for the scarce number of remaining workers), the government established the Office of Economic Stabilization. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, "Why Deaths of Despair Are Rising," 10 Mar. 2020 The 28 stairs — a replica of a similar staircase in Rome known in Italian as the Scala Sancta, or Holy Stairs — represent the stairs Jesus ascended and descended before his crucifixion. Washington Post, "Sisters of St. Joseph motherhouse demolished in Kalamazoo," 2 Mar. 2020 Reporters passed through security at 8 a.m. and ascended to the 15th floor courthouse hallway to line up again inside aluminum pens lining the narrow courthouse hallway. Chris Francescani, ABC News, "Inside the Harvey Weinstein trial: Reporter's notebook," 25 Feb. 2020 Mount Hood climbers encounter less red tape than those ascending other Cascades volcanoes such as Mount Adams or St. Helens, where climbers must pay permit fees beginning in the spring and carrying into the fall. oregonlive, "Sheriff plans to dismantle Mount Hood search-and-rescue tradition," 15 Feb. 2020 About an hour and twenty minutes had passed since Trump had ascended the dais and passed her the speech. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "Trump’s State of the Union Carnival Meets Pelosi’s Speech-Ripping," 5 Feb. 2020 Will a new leader ascend the ranks of the Reich in America and invade this new world? Nick Romano,, "The Man in the High Castle ending explained: Series boss unpacks the 'ambiguous' finale," 19 Nov. 2019 Eric Larsen has skied to the North and South Poles, ascended Everest, and traversed the Greenland ice sheet. Kieran Mulvaney, National Geographic, "‘It’s cool to be cold’: Confessions of frigid-weather fanatics," 7 Nov. 2019 Another theatrical element was added: Ferschtman ascended a platform and fastened a 6-foot-tall dress to her waist, a sight and performance that will be remembered. Christian Hertzogwriter, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: SummerFest revels in sextets and violins, and Timo Andres impresses with a masterful new piano trio," 21 Aug. 2019

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

17 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ascend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for ascend


How to pronounce ascend (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ascend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ascend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ascend

Spanish Central: Translation of ascend

Nglish: Translation of ascend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ascend for Arabic Speakers

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