as·​cen·​dan·​cy | \ ə-ˈsen-dən(t)-sē How to pronounce ascendancy (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ascendency

Definition of ascendancy

: governing or controlling influence : domination

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Did You Know?

In the course of a year, the sun appears to pass through the twelve constellations of the zodiac in sequence, and all the planets also lie close to the solar path. The constellation and planet that are just rising, or ascendant, above the eastern horizon in the sun's path at the moment of a child's birth are said by astrologers to exercise a lifelong controlling influence over the child. This is the idea that lies at the heart of ascendancy, though the word today no longer hints at supernatural powers.

Examples of ascendancy in a Sentence

the ascendancy of the government a book chronicling the ascendancy of fascism in Europe after World War I

Recent Examples on the Web

Naby Keita forced a save from Bravo minutes later with Liverpool very much in the ascendancy., "Liverpool 1-1 Man City (4-5 Pens): Report, Ratings & Reaction as Citizens Secure Community Shield," 4 Aug. 2019 Led by fast bowler Steve Harmison, who claimed five wickets on the opening day to dismiss Australia to 190 all out, England appeared in the ascendancy. James Masters, CNN, "The Ashes: Sledging and the bitter fight for iconic minuscule trophy," 31 July 2019 Welcome to Berlin, capital of Germany, where communist dining is experiencing a pungent ascendancy. Michelle Hackman And Georgia Wells, WSJ, "The Quirkiest Dining Scene in Berlin? Communist Comfort Food," 28 June 2019 As the political ascendancy of the tech industry made such efforts increasingly complicated, Biden pivoted to championing Hollywood’s cause in trade. Los Angeles Times, "How Joe Biden won friends in Hollywood by helping studios get their movies into China," 18 July 2019 Argentina began the game on top and needed just ten minutes to get themselves in the ascendancy., "Venezuela 0-2 Argentina: Lautaro Martinez & Giovani Lo Celso Strikes Set Up Semi-Final With Brazil," 28 June 2019 Despite new actions on trade and commerce in 2018, U.S. understanding of China’s ascendancy remains chaotic and contradictory. Jonathan D. T. Ward, National Review, "China and the Major Powers," 25 June 2019 But even more, the land grab underscored the ascendancy of a new class of whale-size office tenants — tech giants turned media moguls. Roger Vincent,, "Landlords rip out escalators and walls to attract tenants like Google and Netflix," 16 June 2019 George Magnus London Kishore Mahbubani responds: George Magnus challenges my claim that the two-hundred-year period of Western ascendancy was an aberration. Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Letters," 10 May 2019

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

1641, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for ascendancy

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for ascendancy

The first known use of ascendancy was in 1641

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English Language Learners Definition of ascendancy

formal : a position of power in which someone can control or influence other people

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Comments on ascendancy

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


recurring in steady succession

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