verb as·cend \ ə-ˈsend \
Updated on: 22 Jan 2018

Definition of ascend

intransitive verb
1 a : to move upward
  • the balloon ascended
b : to slope upward
  • The path ascends through the woods.
2 a : to rise from a lower level or degree
  • ascend to power
b : to go back in time or in order of genealogical succession
transitive verb
1 : to go or move up
  • ascend a staircase
2 : to succeed to : occupy
  • ascend the throne


or ascendible play \-ˈsen-də-bəl\ adjective

Examples of ascend in a Sentence

  1. They watched their balloons slowly ascend into the sky.

  2. Divers must not ascend too rapidly to the water's surface.

  3. She believed that when she died, her soul would ascend to heaven.

  4. Several paths ascend to the top of the mountain.

  5. stairs ascending to the attic

  6. John Adams ascended to the presidency in 1797.

  7. She worked as a clerk before ascending to her current position.

Recent Examples of ascend from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of ascend

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

ASCEND Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of ascend for English Language Learners

  • : 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.

ASCEND Defined for Kids


verb as·cend \ ə-ˈsend \

Definition of ascend for Students

ascended; ascending
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.

Word Root of ascend

The Latin word scandere, meaning “to climb,” gives us the root scend. Words from the Latin scandere have something to do with climbing. To ascend is to climb upward. To descend is to climb downward. To transcend is to rise above or climb over something's limits.

Synonym Discussion of 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.

Medical Dictionary


intransitive verb 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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of, relating to, or resembling a lion

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