dy·​nas·​ty | \ˈdī-nə-stē also -ˌnas-tē, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dynasty

dynastic \dī-​ˈnas-​tik \ adjective
dynastically \-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Swinehart, a historian and biographer, is completing a book about the political dynasty of William Johnson. Kirk Davis Swinehart, WSJ, "‘Claggett’ Review: Newport’s Illustrious Clocks," 16 Nov. 2018 Bangladeshi politics are deeply divided, with rivals Hasina and Zia, both of Bangladeshi political dynasties, alternately ruling the country since 1991, when democracy was restored. Julhas Alam, The Seattle Times, "Bangladesh sentences 19 to death for political rally attack," 10 Oct. 2018 His strong anti-corruption message and his opposition to the political dynasties that have ruled Pakistan for decades helped him ascend to power. Christina Thornell, Vox, "How a cricket superstar became Pakistan’s prime minister," 29 Aug. 2018 Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, accused the government of creating only 400,000 new jobs against the 20 million promised in a year. Ashok Sharma, Fox News, "Parliament debates no-confidence motion against Modi's gov't," 20 July 2018 Had Romney won the Republican nomination instead of Richard Nixon, the Romneys might have become the leading Republican political dynasty, rather than the Bushes. The Economist, "A different dream," 5 July 2018 The last czar of Russia abdicated on March 15, 1917, following the country’s February Revolution, bringing an end to the Romanov dynasty that ruled Russia for over 300 years. James Rogers, Fox News, "Incredible photos of the last czar and the Russian royal family surface," 25 Sep. 2018 Here’s how an NBA executive lost control of a potential dynasty thanks to burner Twitter accounts. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "How Twitter led to Bryan Colangelo's downfall as Sixers GM. A timeline," 7 June 2018 President Donald Trump won't be joining his wife in attending the memorial service of former first lady Barbara Bush, matriarch of a political dynasty that Trump often clashed with during his 2016 campaign. Ken Thomas, chicagotribune.com, "Trump will skip Barbara Bush funeral, Melania to attend alone," 19 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of dynasty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dynasty

see dynast

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dynasty

Listen to Our Podcast about dynasty

Dictionary Entries near dynasty








Statistics for dynasty

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dynasty

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dynasty



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 \
plural dynasties

Kids Definition of dynasty

: a series of rulers of the same family

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dynasty

Spanish Central: Translation of dynasty

Nglish: Translation of dynasty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dynasty for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dynasty

Comments on dynasty

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


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

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!