dy·​nas·​ty ˈdī-nə-stē How to pronounce dynasty (audio)
 also  -ˌna-stē,
 especially British  ˈdi-nə-stē
plural dynasties
: a succession of rulers of the same line of descent (see descent sense 1a)
a dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years
: a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time
born into a powerful political dynasty
a baseball dynasty
dynastic adjective
dynastically adverb

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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.”

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web That’s one of the key questions at the heart of Those About to Die, the new historical series that explores the intersections of sports and politics during the Flavian dynasty of the Roman Empire. Wesley Stenzel, EW.com, 17 May 2024 The show will feature previously unseen footage and interviews with Jones, alongside interviews with key figures of the 1990s dynasty including Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and coaches Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for dynasty 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dynasty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near dynasty

Cite this Entry

“Dynasty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dynasty. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dy·​nas·​ty ˈdī-nə-stē How to pronounce dynasty (audio)
 also  -ˌnas-tē
plural dynasties
: a succession of rulers of the same line of descent
dynastic adjective
dynastically adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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