as·​cen·​dant | \ə-ˈsen-dənt \
variants: or less commonly ascendent

Definition of ascendant 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the point of the ecliptic or degree of the zodiac that rises above the eastern horizon at any moment

2 : a state or position of dominant power or importance

3 : a lineal or collateral relative in the ascending line


variants: or less commonly ascendent

Definition of ascendant (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : moving upward : rising

b : directed upward an ascendant stem

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Other Words from ascendant


ascendantly adverb

Examples of ascendant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There has been a fundamental shift in the way electricity is generated in the United States, with cleaner energy sources such as natural gas, wind and solar power ascendant. New York Times, "A Courtside View of Scott Pruitt’s Cozy Ties With a Billionaire Coal Baron," 2 June 2018 With e-commerce ascendant, nearly everyone else in the retailing, from venerable department stores to once-trendy clothiers like J. Crew, has been struggling to grow or even survive. Chad Bray And Michael J. De La Merced, New York Times, "QVC to Merge With Home Shopping Network in $2.1 Billion Deal," 6 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Takes Responding to last week’s study of white supremacists on YouTube, Ezra Klein says the video site is the key to understanding the future of the reactionary movement that is now ascendant in the United States. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The case that Russia is winning the cyberwar," 25 Sep. 2018 So what about this argument that strongman are ascendant? Fox News, "Browder 'appalled' by White House reaction to Putin request," 19 July 2018 And the beleaguered Russian team’s stunning 5-0 victory in the tournament opener Thursday against Saudi Arabia was just what Putin needed to make the point that Russia is ascendant again. Washington Post, "Russian hopes, fears tied up in Putin’s showcase World Cup," 14 June 2018 The summits Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev held in the 1980s looked in retrospect like surrender talks between an ascendant America and a broken rival. The Economist, "The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki," 5 July 2018 Obscenities against the newly ascendant party competed with anti-immigration slogans in graffiti across Germany. Avi Selk And Rick Noack, Washington Post, "‘Not a swimming place for Nazis’: A far-right lawmaker had his clothes stolen at the lake," 6 June 2018 The threat posed by the Assad regime to the Syrian people, to Israel, and to broader Middle East stability (as well as to Europe through the prism of the refugee issue) remains a function of the larger threat posed by an ascendant Iran. Behnam Ben Taleblu, Fortune, "Commentary: How Trump Can Neutralize Assad in Syria," 13 Apr. 2018 Both series call the ascendant streamer home, are inspired by prolific, beloved authors, and were produced to be Emmys bait with their lush, cinematic aesthetics., "Handmaid’s Tale," 13 July 2018 Peter Navarro, one of the president's closest trade advisers, gave reporters an on-the-record defense of Trump's high-risk tactics, a sign that for now the administration's trade hard-liners are in the ascendant. David J. Lynch,, "Flood of U.S. companies seek relief on tariffs," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ascendant.' 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 ascendant


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ascendant


Middle English ascendent, from Medieval Latin ascendent-, ascendens, from Latin, present participle of ascendere

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Time Traveler for ascendant

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

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More Definitions for ascendant



English Language Learners Definition of ascendant

: becoming more popular or successful

: more powerful or important than any other


as·​cen·​dant | \ə-ˈsen-dənt\

Legal Definition of ascendant 

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