dy·​nas·​ty | \ ˈdī-nə-stē How to pronounce dynasty (audio) also -ˌna-stē, especially British ˈdi-nə-stē \
plural dynasties

Essential Meaning of dynasty

1 : a family of rulers who rule over a country for a long period of time a dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years also : the period of time when a particular dynasty is in power There was a civil war during the dynasty.
2 : a family, team, etc., that is very powerful or successful for a long period of time She was born into a powerful political dynasty. a baseball dynasty

Full 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 dynasty (audio) \ adjective
dynastically \ dī-​ˈna-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce dynasty (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 The Patriots built a dynasty with Tom Brady, and then Tom Brady moved south and kept the winning going, and did it again Sunday night, blowing kisses on his way out the door. Jason Gay, WSJ, 4 Oct. 2021 And much like his former boss, Kishida was born into political dynasty with both his father and grandfather politicians. Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2021 Cooper was born into the famed Vanderbilt dynasty—his great-great-great-grandfather was shipping and railroad tycoon, Cornelius Vanderbilt. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 20 Sep. 2021 Co-head coahes Michael Blair and Keith Hovis have built a dynasty at the Flagstaff charter school. Madison Thacker, The Arizona Republic, 18 Sep. 2021 The American influence endured through the rest of the century, coursing through three decades of dictatorship under the murderous, kleptocratic yet anti-communist Duvalier dynasty. Washington Post, 8 July 2021 Both men have been Trump supporters, but Bush has a unique history with the former president as the most prominent member of the Bush political dynasty to embrace Trump. Patrick Svitek, San Antonio Express-News, 19 May 2021 There are plenty of incredible winning streaks represented in Saban’s long dynasty with Alabama, but arguably the best of all is the Crimson Tide’s current unbeaten run against teams in the SEC East. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 15 Sep. 2021 Anna Friel, meanwhile, has been cast as the next in line in the Roman musical dynasty, Nicky Roman. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Sep. 2021

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

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dynasty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dynasty. Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for dynasty


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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