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

Along with his father, Cliven, and brother, Ryan, Bundy became an ascendant figure on the right after a long-standing land dispute with federal authorities sparked an armed standoff at the family ranch in Nevada in 2014. Kyle Swenson, The Seattle Times, "Ammon Bundy breaks with Trump on anti-migrant rhetoric: ‘It’s all fear-based’," 28 Nov. 2018 His latest, Red Moon, is set within spitting distance of today, envisioning the power struggle between an ascendant China and a declining United States. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Red Moon is a novel full of fascinating ideas that never come together," 3 Nov. 2018 Now, there are some new, ascendant Democratic financiers in Silicon Valley. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Ten big Silicon Valley money players behind this November’s U.S. midterm elections," 20 Aug. 2018 Fans and the news media often talk about how an ascendant star at a World Cup will be rewarded not just with the praise of his nation but a subsequent high-profile move to a title contender in England, Spain, Italy or Germany. Rory Smith, New York Times, "When the World’s Greatest Soccer Players Gather, Scouts Stay Away," 5 July 2018 Schrade and the four others who were injured in the shooting are often overlooked players in the assassination that killed Kennedy at the age of 42 amid his ascendant presidential campaign. Washington Post, "Wounded RFK aide from shooting still pushing RFK legacy," 3 June 2018 Zero has become the biggest name among the ascendant electric motorcycle companies, making bikes for dirt riders, commuters, and even police. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Here Is Zero's New Lineup of 2019 Electric Motorcycles," 23 Oct. 2018 Only in Malaysia and the region's largest nation, Indonesia, does democracy appear entrenched or in the ascendant. Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "Malaysia, Cambodia offer 2 Asian narratives of change at UN," 27 Sep. 2018 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

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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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

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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