dom·​i·​nant | \ ˈdä-mə-nənt How to pronounce dominant (audio) , ˈdäm-nənt \

Essential Meaning of dominant

1 : more important, powerful, or successful than most or all others The university has/plays a dominant [=major] role in the local economy. Money is the dominant [=main] force in consumer societies. See More ExamplesThe company is now dominant in its market. What is the dominant [=major, predominant] theme of the play? It is the dominant culture/tribe in the region. She has a very dominant [=domineering] personality. the dominant female/male of the packHide
2 : most common the dominant [=prevailing] language/religion of the country
3 biology : causing or relating to a characteristic or condition that a child will have if one of the child's parents has it dominant genes Brown hair is a dominant trait. = Brown hair is dominant.

Full Definition of dominant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : commanding, controlling, or prevailing over all others the dominant culture
b : very important, powerful, or successful a dominant theme a dominant industry the team's dominant performance
2 : overlooking and commanding from a superior position a dominant hill
3 : of, relating to, or exerting ecological or genetic dominance dominant genes dominant and recessive traits
4 biology : being the one of a pair of bodily structures that is the more effective or predominant in action dominant eye used her dominant hand



Definition of dominant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 music : the fifth tone of a major or minor scale (see scale entry 5 sense 1)
2a genetics : a character or factor that exerts genetic dominance (see dominance sense 1b)
b ecology : any of one or more kinds of organism (such as a species) in an ecological community that exerts a controlling influence on the environment and thereby largely determines what other kinds of organisms are present dominant conifers
c sociology : an individual having a controlling, prevailing, or powerful position in a social hierarchy : a dominant (see dominant entry 1 sense 1) individual in a social hierarchy

Other Words from dominant


dominantly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for dominant


dominant, predominant, paramount, preponderant mean superior to all others in influence or importance. dominant applies to something that is uppermost because ruling or controlling. a dominant social class predominant applies to something that exerts, often temporarily, the most marked influence. a predominant emotion paramount implies supremacy in importance, rank, or jurisdiction. unemployment was the paramount issue in the campaign preponderant applies to an element or factor that outweighs all others in influence or effect. preponderant evidence in her favor

Examples of dominant in a Sentence

Adjective The company is now dominant in its market. It is the dominant culture in the region. the dominant female of the pack
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The battle for talent continues to be a dominant theme for business in 2022, driving a focus on pay, perks, purpose and workplace flexibility. David Meyer, Fortune, 19 Jan. 2022 It’s about supplanting the US as the dominant military power in the region. Mary Hui, Quartz, 19 Jan. 2022 One tragedy of living in this world is the way in which nearly any act — however trivial or radical — often becomes subsumed and consumed by the dominant narrative. Devin Kelly, Longreads, 19 Jan. 2022 Conjuring a dystopian future from the dominant fears of 2016 might have guided Yanagihara toward a different kind of totalitarian state, one centered on an incompetent strongman with a cultlike following. Rebecca Panovka, Harper’s Magazine , 18 Jan. 2022 The Delta variant of COVID-19 is no longer the dominant cause of infections in the US. Ashley Abramson,, 18 Jan. 2022 But after dominant wins over Lawrence North (77-48), Park Tudor (74-39) and Pike (69-42), Ben Davis could not close the door after leading by 20 against North Central, falling 74-73 in overtime. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, 18 Jan. 2022 Google has since become the dominant player in the space, but Microsoft is still pushing into advertising. Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2022 The Tigers are the favorite to win the 6A state championship this winter, and showcased their talents in a dominant way. oregonlive, 18 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sunday’s blowout loss and last week’s stunning defeat to the Jets have erased all the goodwill coach Zac Taylor earned from a 5-2 start and a dominant over the Ravens. C.j. Doon,, 9 Nov. 2021 But the system has changed to become point-guard dominant. Ira Winderman,, 24 Oct. 2021 If Duarte pans out, he's considered a more versatile version of McDermott who is right-hand dominant and primarily used on one side of the floor because of it. J. Michael, The Indianapolis Star, 30 July 2021 In California, new data from the California Department of Public Health found that 35.6% of coronavirus variants analyzed in June have been delta variant, up from 5.6% in May and making the delta variant the dominant in the state. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, 5 July 2021 After six wins last season behind a dominant, if under the radar, nationally ranked defense, WVU could be poised for a move in the Big 12. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, 28 May 2021 The vaccine also has been found to have good efficacy against the variant dominant in South Africa. Mogomotsi Magome And Andrew Meldrum, Star Tribune, 14 Apr. 2021 Experts think the AstraZeneca vaccine could still offer better protection against severe disease and death caused by the variant dominant in South Africa, but that has not yet been tested. Mogomotsi Magome, Star Tribune, 16 Feb. 2021 Researchers have also found that the variant dominant in the U.K. is also more deadly than the original virus. Karel Janicek, Star Tribune, 16 Feb. 2021

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


circa 1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dominant

Adjective and Noun

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin dominant-, dominans, present participle of dominari — see dominate

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Time Traveler for dominant

Time Traveler

The first known use of dominant was circa 1532

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Dictionary Entries Near dominant



dominant seventh chord

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Statistics for dominant

Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dominant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for dominant


dom·​i·​nant | \ ˈdä-mə-nənt How to pronounce dominant (audio) \

Kids Definition of dominant

1 : controlling or being more powerful or important than all others The team is dominant in its league.
2 : being or produced by a form of a gene that prevents or hides the effect of another form A dominant gene produces brown eye color.


dom·​i·​nant | \ -nənt How to pronounce dominant (audio) \

Medical Definition of dominant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : exerting forcefulness or having dominance in a social hierarchy
2 : being the one of a pair of bodily structures that is the more effective or predominant in action the dominant eye
3 : of, relating to, or exerting genetic dominance

Other Words from dominant

dominantly adverb



Medical Definition of dominant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a dominant genetic character or factor
2 : a dominant individual in a social hierarchy

More from Merriam-Webster on dominant

Nglish: Translation of dominant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dominant for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about dominant


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