noun dy·nas·ty \ ˈdī-nə-stē also -ˌnas-tē , especially British ˈdi-nə-stē \
Updated on: 15 Feb 2018

Definition of dynasty

plural dynasties
1 : a succession of rulers of the same line of descent (see descent 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


play \dī-ˈnas-tik\ adjective


play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

dynasty was our Word of the Day on 11/27/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of dynasty in a Sentence

  1. a dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years

  2. There was a civil war during the dynasty.

  3. She was born into a powerful political dynasty.

Recent Examples of dynasty from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of dynasty

see dynast

DYNASTY Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of dynasty for English Language Learners

  • : 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

DYNASTY Defined for Kids


noun dy·nas·ty \ ˈdī-nə-stē \

Definition of dynasty for Students

plural dynasties
: a series of rulers of the same family

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


formed or used for a special purpose

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-dog-in-snow-jumping-to-grab-a-heart-shaped-balloon-the-snow-and-heart-balloon-indicate-that-the-month-being-represented-is-april-and-the-dog-is-just-kinda-cute
  • Which is a synonym of sanguine?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!