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

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 Richard, born in 1367, ascended to the throne as a child, in 1377. Willard Spiegelman, WSJ, "A Mystery Meets the Mystical," 17 Jan. 2020 The pair ascend with a 10% gain in plays in the week ending Jan. 12, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Trevor Anderson, Billboard, "Chris Brown & Drake's 'No Guidance' Tops Adult R&B Chart, Nears Airplay Record," 16 Jan. 2020 Since then, though, two men — Sanders and Biden — have ascended to the top of the polls, joined in some of them by former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg. Annie Linskey,, "The explosive question for Democrats: Can a woman defeat Trump in November?," 14 Jan. 2020 Elizabeth ascended the throne and her coronation took place on 2 June 1953. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "The Queen Just Stepped Out in Sandringham Amid the Meghan-Harry Drama," 10 Jan. 2020 Just 42 days after becoming vice president, Johnson ascended to the presidency following Lincoln's assassination in April 1865. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "What have presidents been impeached for? The articles of impeachment for Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump," 19 Dec. 2019 This time, his appeals ascended to the United States Supreme Court, and again the conviction was tossed. Rick Rojas, New York Times, "After 6 Murder Trials and 23 Years, Curtis Flowers Is Granted Bail," 16 Dec. 2019 Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma Assuming Rattler ascends to the starting job as Hurts' successor, which seems likely barring Lincoln Riley again dipping into the transfer pool. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields lead early 2020 Heisman Trophy favorites," 15 Dec. 2019 With a victory the Buckeyes might ascend to the No. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Ohio State at Minnesota odds, picks and best bets," 15 Dec. 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

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ascend.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 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.
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

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).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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