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 After Martin was traded in the aftermath of a 1957 brawl at the Copacabana night club, Ford and Mantle remained centerpieces in the Yankees dynasty and were elected together to the Hall of Fame in 1974. sun-sentinel.com, "Whitey Ford, pitcher who epitomized mighty Yankees, dies at 91," 9 Oct. 2020 After Martin was traded in the aftermath of a 1957 brawl at the Copacabana night club, Ford and Mantle remained centerpieces in the Yankees dynasty and were elected together to the Hall of Fame in 1974. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Whitey Ford, the pitcher who epitomized the mighty Yankees of the ‘50s, 60s, dies at 91," 9 Oct. 2020 Meanwhile, Clemson's active dynasty has secured a place in college football history. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Florida State's football program searches for an identity and a winning streak," 8 Oct. 2020 Billionaire philanthropist George Soros and the Rothschild dynasty are frequent targets. Gianluca Mezzofiore, Katie Polglase And Tim Lister, CNN, "How a dangerous virtual cult is going global," 7 Oct. 2020 The next season, DeBerg was in Denver and Walsh and Montana were in the Super Bowl, launching an NFL dynasty. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "The wild story of the 49ers, Steve DeBerg and a shoulder-pad speaker system," 29 Sep. 2020 Sabah was part of a ruling dynasty dating back more than 250 years. Washington Post, "Kuwait’s emir al-Sabah, influential voice in the Middle East, dies at 91," 29 Sep. 2020 Succession season 2 ended with Kendall Roy throwing a bombshell on his father's dynasty. Neha Prakash, Marie Claire, "'Succession' Season 3: Everything We Know So Far," 21 Sep. 2020 Not so long ago, the Warriors built an NBA dynasty on the strength of three homegrown players who came to typify the essence of innovation, teamwork and winning. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Word to the Warriors: Don’t sacrifice Klay to get Giannis," 15 Sep. 2020

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

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

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

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dynasty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dynasty. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for dynasty


How to pronounce dynasty (audio)

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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