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

Winning another crown Monday night against Clemson would lift the Crimson Tide even further above other college football dynasties and into the conversation about the best runs in all of college sports. Josh Dubow, The Seattle Times, "Alabama already among greatest college dynasties," 7 Jan. 2019 Forbes Gracing the cover of Forbes’s 60 Richest Self-Made Women issue this week was none other than Kylie Jenner, the 21-year old member of the Kardashian family dynasty and cosmetics mogul. Aditi Juneja, Vox, "Like Kylie Jenner, I was on a Forbes list. Here are the hidden privileges that made me a “success.”," 14 July 2018 The original name of Windsor dynasty was the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but following World War I, Queen Elizabeth's grandfather King George V was concerned about anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Complicated History of the Royal Family's Last Name, Mountbatten-Windsor," 12 May 2019 In a Manhattan building known for its associations with the city’s elite, a sprawling duplex owned by a member of the Rothschild banking dynasty is listing for $22.5 million. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, "A River House Duplex with a Rothschild Pedigree for $22.5 Million," 31 Jan. 2019 Joe Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family musical dynasty, has reportedly been laid to rest in the same Glendale cemetery as the late King of Pop. Libby Hill, latimes.com, "Joe Jackson reportedly buried in Glendale cemetery where son Michael was interred," 3 July 2018 Feeling threatened by the widespread growth of the early church throughout the Roman empire, the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty plotted to fight fire with fire, so to speak, hoping to extinguish Christianity for good. Atlanta Life, ajc, "Remembering the persecuted church on Easter," 30 Mar. 2018 Nonetheless, Qing Dynasty scholars were eager for the glory of working in the emperor’s south study, and during the early part of that dynasty, quite a few famous scholars served the emperor as South Study special aides. Douglas Hofstadter, The Atlantic, "The Shallowness of Google Translate," 30 Jan. 2018 Five years is so long in the NBA that five years ago the Warriors hadn’t won the first title of this dynasty. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The NBA’s Big Greek Dunking Machine," 6 Dec. 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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Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce dynasty (audio) \
plural dynasties

Kids Definition of dynasty

: a series of rulers of the same family

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