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 \ ə-​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 Patriots have ascended quickly since the school opened with freshman and sophomore classes in 2016. David Hinojosa,, "Girls basketball preview: Veterans Memorial looking to make more strides," 6 Nov. 2019 TikTok, however, is ascending on the global internet scene just as the technological Iron Curtain is drawing. New York Times, "China’s TikTok Blazes New Ground. That Could Doom It.," 5 Nov. 2019 Despite his reluctance, Henry V ascends the throne and is forced to face a hostile France and courtiers counselling war as a panacea for civil discord. The Economist, "Lenity and cruelty “The King” is a timely examination of the corrupting influence of power," 4 Nov. 2019 Haskins developing quickly: Running back Hassan Haskins has ascended Michigan's depth chart, and appears to be the team's current No. 1 back based on his work and production over the past month. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football: What we learned at Maryland, what to watch entering bye week," 3 Nov. 2019 Just the Jags' luck that as soon as the offense begins ascending, the defense regresses. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL midseason report cards: 32 things we learned while grading the teams," 31 Oct. 2019 According to the pollen evidence, Ötzi then ascended again and ate his last meal in a subalpine coniferous forest before climbing even higher to Tisen Pass, where he was killed. Megan Gannon, National Geographic, "Scientists reconstruct Ötzi the Iceman’s frantic final climb," 30 Oct. 2019 Can a woman, especially a woman of color, ascend to those levels while still being fully authentically herself? Alicia Menendez, Time, "Women Are Often Told to Just Be Themselves. Here's Why That Advice Can Be Dangerous," 29 Oct. 2019 On Streaming Songs, the track ascends 11-8 (reaching the top 10 for the first time), up 2% to 25.2 million U.S. streams, in the week ending Oct. 24. Gary Trust, Billboard, "Lewis Capaldi's 'Someone You Loved' Hits No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100," 28 Oct. 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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ascend

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

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More Definitions for ascend


How to pronounce ascend (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ascend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ascend

Spanish Central: Translation of ascend

Nglish: Translation of ascend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ascend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ascend

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


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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