as·cen·dan·cy | \ ə-ˈsen-dən(t)-sē \
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

The step was widely interpreted as a sign that the modernizers within the Saudi government may have gained ascendancy over the conservative hard-liners. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Jewish people have a right to their ‘own land,’ Saudi crown prince says as he seeks ally against Iran," 3 Apr. 2018 That’s an ascendancy narrative that Coombsville proselytizers, for example, would find familiar: new blood comes to town, quality improves, recognition follows, prices rise. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Is Napa running out of land for vineyards?," 22 Feb. 2018 Trump’s ascendancy to the White House has spurred many to action, including a crop of fledgling newcomers, all eager to effect change, though some possessing little or no government experience. Chris Fuchs /, NBC News, "Midterm candidates bank on years of experience amidst wave of first timers," 16 May 2018 Sheer output and diversification were indeed key to Netflix’s 2018 ascendancy. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: How Netflix Edged HBO and What It Means for This Year's Race," 12 July 2018 In 1923, at the peak of Klan ascendancy, the state legislature passed an alien land act, barring immigrants from owning or renting land, with exactly one negative vote. Longreads, "Oregon’s Racist Past," 12 July 2018 England should be able to press their ascendancy if the Belgium game is anything to go by., "World Cup Preview: England vs Panama - Recent Form, Team News, Predictions & More," 23 June 2018 Liberals have begun to make the same argument since the advent of the conservative ascendancy over the past few decades. Eric Posner And Glen Weyl, Vox, "The Supreme Court is an anti-democratic nightmare. Here’s how to fix it.," 29 June 2018 The administration’s trade hawks, including Messrs. Navarro and Lighthizer, have been in the ascendancy since mid-May. Bob Davis, WSJ, "Trade Rift Within Trump Administration Sends Stocks on Wild Ride," 25 June 2018

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 2018

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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

: 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).


the setting in which something occurs

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