dy·​nas·​ty | \ ˈdī-nə-stē How to pronounce dynasty (audio) also -ˌna-stē, especially British ˈdi-nə-stē \
plural dynasties

Definition of dynasty

1 : a succession of rulers of the same line of descent (see descent sense 1a) a dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years
2 : a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time born into a powerful political dynasty a baseball dynasty

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Other Words from dynasty

dynastic \ dī-​ˈna-​stik How to pronounce dynastic (audio) \ adjective
dynastically \ dī-​ˈna-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce dynastically (audio) \ adverb

Sports Dynasties

Dynasty has been in use in English for over 600 years, for most of that time referring to a ruling family that maintains power through succession. Around the beginning of the 19th century, the word developed the figurative sense “a group or family that dominates a particular field for generations.” Nowadays, this sense of dynasty is often applied to a sports franchise which has a prolonged run of successful seasons. The sports use appears to have begun in the early 20th century. An article in The Washington Post in 1905 refers to “John T. Brush’s baseball dynasty,” and by 1912 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that “if players were free agents at the end of every two years, baseball dynasties such as those built up by the Cubs, Athletics, Detroits and Giants would not be possible.”

Dynasty Has Greek Roots

Dynast and dynasty both descend from the Greek verb dynasthai, which means "to be able" or "to have power." Dynasty came to prominence in English first; it has been part of our language since at least the 14th century. Dynast took its place in the linguistic family line in the early 1600s, and it has been used to describe sovereigns and other rulers ever since.

Examples of dynasty in a Sentence

a dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years There was a civil war during the dynasty. She was born into a powerful political dynasty.
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Recent Examples on the Web There has been a shift in dynamics and demeanor for the two principals of the Patriots dynasty. BostonGlobe.com, "Balance of Patriots power shifts back to Bill Belichick, not Tom Brady - The Boston Globe," 27 Nov. 2019 In North Korea’s state mythology, Mount Paektu is supposed to be the spiritual home of the Kim dynasty and the birthplace of Kim Jong Un’s father. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "Kim Jong Un rides white horse on sacred mountain – and plans ‘great operation’," 16 Oct. 2019 The mountain is an important propaganda piece for North Korea, as the Kim dynasty has absorbed its mythology into the family's own lore and deification. Julia Hollingsworth And Yoonjung Seo, CNN, "North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rides a white horse on snowy, symbolic mountain," 15 Oct. 2019 Ching-ling married Sun Yat-sen, whose revolution overthrew the Qing dynasty; May-ling married Sun’s successor, Chiang Kai-shek; and Ei-ling married a finance minister in Chiang’s Nationalist government. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 19 Nov. 2019 Golden State’s defense, which has been historically bad this season, channeled the stinginess that helped pave the way for the franchise’s recent five-year dynasty. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors have strong start, but suffer 6th loss in a row," 15 Nov. 2019 The moral costs of the Marcos dynasty interest the filmmaker more. Justin Chang, chicagotribune.com, "‘The Kingmaker’ review: Lauren Greenfield, ‘Queen of Versailles’ director, focuses her lens on Imelda Marcos — the former first lady of the Philippines," 13 Nov. 2019 Bratkowski mostly played backup to Bart Starr during Green Bay's 1960s dynasty. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Packers Hall of Fame QB Zeke Bratkowski, longtime Bart Starr backup, dies at age 88," 11 Nov. 2019 Still, families would have a much tougher time establishing multibillion-dollar dynasties that echo for generations in the face of taxes that aim more aggressively at wealth, capital gains and inheritances. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, "Warren Would Take Billionaires Down a Few Billion Pegs," 10 Nov. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dynasty

Middle English dynastia, dynastie "power, sovereignty, succession of rulers," borrowed from Medieval Latin dynastīa, going back to Late Latin, "rule, power," borrowed from Greek dynasteía "arbitrarily exercised political power, lordship, rule," from dynástēs "holder of political power, lord, ruler" + -eia -y entry 2 — more at dynast

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

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dynasty.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dynasties. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for dynasty


How to pronounce dynasty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dynasty

: a family of rulers who rule over a country for a long period of time also : the period of time when a particular dynasty is in power
: a family, team, etc., that is very powerful or successful for a long period of time


dy·​nas·​ty | \ ˈdī-nə-stē How to pronounce dynasty (audio) \
plural dynasties

Kids Definition of dynasty

: a series of rulers of the same family

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