as·​cen·​dant | \ ə-ˈsen-dənt How to pronounce ascendant (audio) \
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 Twitter, where the world’s ascendant autocracies are always top of mind. 1843, "The internet, mon amour," 19 June 2020 And for a while in the 1970s and 1980s, the Republican Party appeared to be ascendant, even (and perhaps especially) among younger voters. Lee Drutman, The New Republic, "How Democracy Dies at the Ballot Box," 18 June 2020 Originating among the tower blocks of the Bronx in the 1970s, rap was ascendant by the time of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in the 1990s. The Economist, "Music and activism “RTJ4” voices the concerns of protesters in America," 9 June 2020 Josh Ross, who split time at weakside linebacker in 2018 before redshirting due to injuries this past season, will likely slide in at his old position, next to ascendant star Cam McGrone at middle. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football roundtable: Who's the toughest opponent for 2020 — after Ohio State?," 8 June 2020 Never Trump, at a time when libertarian forces in the Republican Party were ascendant. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Tom Cotton evolves from neocon hero to MAGA icon," 5 June 2020 Christian influence was ascendant even as eminent pagans fought to uphold the old ways. Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic, "The Man Who Sacked Rome," 9 June 2020 In the 1920s, with newspapers ascendant and readers curious about the world, the foreign reporter became a swashbuckling archetype. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy: Lorrie Moore’s Collected Stories, and More," 10 Mar. 2020 The track falls cleanly in line with the overall vibe of the new album \\\\, which takes influence from the '90s rave scene and delivers an immersive collection of tracks that are dually deep and ascendant. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Griz, Grimes, Nghtmre & Gunna, Deadmau5 & More," 15 Nov. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Ascendant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on ascendant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ascendant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ascendant

Spanish Central: Translation of ascendant

Nglish: Translation of ascendant for Spanish Speakers

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