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

Here’s how an NBA executive lost control of a potential dynasty thanks to burner Twitter accounts. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "How Twitter led to Bryan Colangelo's downfall as Sixers GM. A timeline," 7 June 2018 President Donald Trump won't be joining his wife in attending the memorial service of former first lady Barbara Bush, matriarch of a political dynasty that Trump often clashed with during his 2016 campaign. Ken Thomas, chicagotribune.com, "Trump will skip Barbara Bush funeral, Melania to attend alone," 19 Apr. 2018 Barbara Bush, the witty, gregarious matriarch of a political dynasty that propelled two of its members to the White House and dominated Republican politics for decades, has died after a series of recent hospitalizations. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "CBS erroneously publishes obituary for former first lady Barbara Bush | The Sacramento Bee," 15 Apr. 2018 Jason Clarke plays Ted Kennedy, the last survivor of a political dynasty who, in 1969, drove his car off a bridge in the title locale, resulting in the death of the young woman with him, Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New movies: 'A Quiet Place,' John Cena's 'Blockers,' Latin film festivals and more," 5 Apr. 2018 The North may see a treaty — and its presumed safety assurances from Washington — as its best way of preserving the Kim family dynasty. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Trump meets with Singapore PM one day before Kim Jong Un sitdown," 11 June 2018 The North may see a treaty — and its presumed safety assurances from Washington — as its best way of preserving the Kim family dynasty. Foster Klug, BostonGlobe.com, "North Korea’s Kim arrives in Singapore," 10 June 2018 The conventional view in the U.S. is that the Kim dynasty uses negotiations to win concessions. David Tweed, Bloomberg.com, "Trump Has Agreed to Meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Now What?," 9 Mar. 2018 The Kim dynasty has over the years raised the prospect of abandoning its nuclear-weapons program, if the U.S. gave up its hostile policies. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "North Korea floats giving up nukes, opening door to US talks," 6 Mar. 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

7 Nov 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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