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

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 From the rise of Trump in the US to the ascendancy of populist and nationalist parties in countries across the EU, tensions between those who have agency and those who do not have broken out into the open. The New York Review of Books, "Lisa Nandy," 17 Dec. 2018 The country’s underlying weaknesses pre-date Xi’s ascendancy and were acknowledged by his predecessors. Therese Shaheen, National Review, "China’s ‘New Long March’," 5 June 2019 This is a column about new blood, the merciless battle for greatness, and a sudden ascendancy to power. Jason Gay, WSJ, "‘Game of Thrones’ Is Over. Your New Favorite TV Show Is Giannis & Kawhi.," 20 May 2019 The night at the Palazzo marked the apex of Mr. Low’s ascendancy. Bradley Hope, WSJ, "The Billion-Dollar Mystery Man and the Wildest Party Vegas Ever Saw," 15 Sep. 2018 Where coal-miner and steelworker unions used to provide some sense of solidarity, the ascendancy of mineral rights — privately owned and unequally distributed — have pitted neighbors against one another. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "A Community Cracked Open by Fracking," 13 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

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ascendancy

The first known use of ascendancy was in 1641

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More Definitions for ascendancy



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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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