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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Jameel is an heir to the Abdul Latif Jameel business dynasty of Saudi Arabia. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Rihanna Responds to Photos of Her Feuding with Boyfriend Hassan Jameel with Lion Meme," 12 July 2018 San Antonio is no longer a threat to the Golden State dynasty, even if Leonard stays home. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors and revamped Lakers? Bring it on," 16 June 2018 Young Eddie D took the 49ers from perennial ho-hummers to NFL dynasty and pride of the Bay Area. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Ranking the best team owners in Bay Area sports history," 12 June 2018 According to a comment from the singer’s rep to Buzzfeed, the pair of babies that Beyoncé is holding are not the heirs apparent to the Knowles-Carter dynasty. Cady Lang, Time, "Actually, Those Aren't Beyoncé's Twins in That 'OTR II' Tour Picture," 7 June 2018 That makes the success of the South, achieved without the blessings of the Kim family’s leadership, potentially destabilizing for the North and dangerous to the dynasty. Bloomberg.com, "Why Doesn’t North Korea Want to Be More Like Its Neighbors?," 23 May 2018 However, the auspicious start to Puff Daddy’s dynasty ended up becoming the beginning of the end for the Craig. Brian Josephs, Billboard, "The Notorious B.I.G.'s 25 Best Songs: Critic's Picks," 21 May 2018 Designed by Australian firm Kerry Hill Architects, the hotel features 24 suites and 10 pavilions, plus 13 villas that were created from 26 ancient homes dating to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "The New Aman Outside Shanghai Is More Than a Hotel—It's a World of Its Own," 10 May 2018 The family rose from mere prominence to true dynasty, with portraits hanging on official walls in Washington, Texas and Florida. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "'One last time': Barbara Bush had already faced a death more painful than her own," 18 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.

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First Known Use of dynasty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dynasty

see dynast

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Statistics for dynasty

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for dynasty

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

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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

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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

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one that holds something together

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