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

The intrigue that split up Austria’s coalition government this week has already grown into a cautionary tale told by political moderates about the risks of associating with ascendant far-right parties. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "As Europe Votes, Moderates See a Lesson in Austrian Video Scandal," 25 May 2019 As a result, Revolution gets its highest-profile partner to date and the White Sox get a local, ascendant brand whose beer and logo will be dotted through the park. Josh Noel,, "White Sox and Revolution Brewing team up for new bar at Guaranteed Rate Field," 23 Mar. 2018 And, in fact, Hoffman himself and other ascendant Silicon Valley donors like Chris Sacca have tried to help the Democratic establishment be more tech-friendly and cost-effective. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Reid Hoffman is learning an early rule of being a megadonor: It’s hard to keep track of your money," 26 Dec. 2018 To master the moment is to keep track of the competing false narratives — Iannucci’s term — that surface as different factions become briefly ascendant. Gary Thompson,, "'Death of Stalin': See it because Putin doesn't want you to, and because it's funny," 21 Mar. 2018 That meant to keep potential enemies on board—with the Conservatives’ Brexit-backing faction in the ascendant following the public vote—Mrs. Max Colchester, WSJ, "Theresa May’s Tough Line Scores Points but Clouds Brexit Path," 15 Jan. 2019 At a time when nationalist forces were ascendant around the world, Mr. Macron was the rare leader ready to champion globalization rather than retreat from it. Stacy Meichtry, WSJ, "Macron’s Tumble Tells a Larger Story," 21 Jan. 2019 From the start Kirman has shopped the Mountain overseas, a reflection of Los Angeles’s ascendant status as a destination for the global elite. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "An Empty Lot Above Beverly Hills Is the Most Expensive Real Estate in the World," 17 Jan. 2019 No potential contender is more ascendant than outgoing Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who lost last month in a surprisingly close race against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Paul J. Weber, The Seattle Times, "APNewsBreak: Julian Castro moves toward 2020 White House run," 12 Dec. 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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Statistics for ascendant

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on ascendant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ascendant

Spanish Central: Translation of ascendant

Nglish: Translation of ascendant for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ascendant

What made you want to look up ascendant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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