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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The elder Marcos, a lawyer, leveraged his military service during World War II to ascend the country’s political ranks. Erik Ortiz, NBC News, 14 May 2022 For many years, shortly after the flowers began to sprout, André Leon Talley would ascend the steps of a church on 84th Street and Fifth Avenue to pay homage to the gods of fashion. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 The small bioluminescent cephalopods, known as hotaru ika in their native Japan, ascend from their deep sea abode every spring to spawn in Toyama Bay, illuminating the waters with otherworldly flickers of blue light. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Mar. 2022 From the front office and HR to R&D, sales, marketing and the supply chain, experience excellence must ascend to a company-wide goal to generate competitive advantage. Anish Nair, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 Jan Bledsoe, a fixture since State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby first took office, will ascend to chief deputy. Justin Fenton,, 20 Dec. 2021 Olu of Warri to ascend the throne and one of the youngest to do so. Anita Patrick, CNN, 23 Aug. 2021 But Jackson also has the experience of being a Black woman attempting to ascend in the legal profession embedded in her bones. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2022 But there’s one — the only one who has ever lived, actually — who has kept doubling down and seen his star ascend accordingly. New York Times, 6 May 2021 See More

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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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ascend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ascend


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.


intransitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on ascend

Nglish: Translation of ascend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ascend for Arabic Speakers


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