as·​cend | \ ə-ˈsend How to pronounce ascend (audio) \
ascended; ascending; ascends

Definition of ascend

intransitive verb

1a : to move upward the balloon ascended
b : to slope upward The path ascends through the woods.
c : to conduct nerve impulses toward or to the brain an ascending somatosensory pathway
2a : to rise from a lower level or degree ascend to power
b : to go back in time or in order of genealogical succession
c : to pass from lower to higher musical notes C – E ascending

transitive verb

1 : to go or move up ascend a staircase
2 : to succeed to : occupy ascend the throne

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Other Words from ascend

ascendable or ascendible \ -​ˈsen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce ascendible (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for 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.

Examples of ascend in a Sentence

They watched their balloons slowly ascend into the sky. Divers must not ascend too rapidly to the water's surface. She believed that when she died, her soul would ascend to heaven. Several paths ascend to the top of the mountain. stairs ascending to the attic John Adams ascended to the presidency in 1797. She worked as a clerk before ascending to her current position.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The path begins to ascend steeply as hikers near the top. Peter Marteka,, "The ruins of the Hermitage and the spectacular views from Peter’s Rock in North Haven," 19 July 2019 Just to be absolutely clear, Cats is a musical whose only plot point involves the ritualistic, mystical selection of a very special cat to ascend to cat heaven. Aja Romano, Vox, "The first Cats trailer is finally here. We were not prepared.," 18 July 2019 Finally, the old and oft-shunned Grizabella is chosen to ascend to a new life. Raisa Bruner, Time, "What's a Jellicle, Anyway? Everything You Need to Know About Cats Before the Movie Adaptation," 18 July 2019 To trace their footsteps, there are two ways to ascend to the top of Mauna Loa. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "Before Going to the Moon, Apollo 11 Astronauts Trained at These Five Sites," 17 July 2019 Somehow, Kante has managed to ascend above these club rivalries and is seemingly admired by anyone with a love for the beautiful game., "N'Golo Kante: How Chelsea Hit the Jackpot When They Signed the Diminutive Frenchman," 16 July 2019 Even if Margot, who is just 24, continues to ascend, Myers’ dive creates another issue. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Analysis: Padres’ season could get even more compelling in second half," 11 July 2019 In fact, Prince Charles and Prince William all have esteemed society members and dignitaries (both British and foreign) as their godparents, in part because they're both expected to ascend to the throne. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Kate Middleton and Prince William Are Likely Not Archie's Godparents," 6 July 2019 Larson began banging on the hull of his ship signaling an emergency to the other divers, which required them to ascend as soon as safely possible. William Langhorne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Report details Lake Michigan diving accident in which Illinois couple died," 6 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of ascend

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for ascend

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

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Statistics for ascend

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ascend

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

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More Definitions for ascend



English Language Learners Definition of ascend

formal : 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.


as·​cend | \ ə-ˈsend How to pronounce ascend (audio) \
ascended; ascending

Kids Definition of ascend

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.
as·​cend | \ ə-ˈsend How to pronounce ascend (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ascend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ascend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ascend

Spanish Central: Translation of ascend

Nglish: Translation of ascend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ascend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ascend

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to complain fretfully

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