English edit

Etymology edit

PIE word
*h₂éd

The adjective is derived from Late Middle English ascendent (ascending, rising; increasing in quantity; (astronomy) rising above the horizon) [and other forms],[1] borrowed from Old French ascendant, from Latin ascendentem, the accusative singular of ascendēns (ascending, rising), the present participle of ascendō, adscendō (to climb up, go up, move upwards; to rise; to spring up),[2] from ad- (prefix meaning ‘(up) to’) + scandō (to ascend, climb, mount; to clamber) (from Proto-Indo-European *skend- (to climb, scale; to dart; to jump; to scan (poetry))). The English word is analysable as ascend (verb) +‎ -ant (suffix forming adjectives from verbs with the sense of ‘doing [the verbal actions]’).

The noun is probably derived from the adjective, though it is attested earlier than the latter.[2]

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

ascendant (comparative more ascendant, superlative most ascendant)

  1. Moving upward; ascending, rising.
    • 1605, Francis Bacon, “The Second Booke”, in The Twoo Bookes of Francis Bacon. Of the Proficience and Aduancement of Learning, Diuine and Humane, London: [] [Thomas Purfoot and Thomas Creede] for Henrie Tomes, [], →OCLC, folio 24, verso:
      [A]ll true and frutefull Natvrall Philosophie, hath A double Scale or Ladder, Aſcendent and Deſcendent, aſcending from experiments to the Inuention of cauſes; and deſcending from cauſes, to the Inuention of nevve experiments; Therefore I iudge it moſt requiſite, that theſe tvvo parts be ſeuerally conſidered and handled.
    • 1692, Robert South, “A Sermon Preached upon John vii. 17.”, in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, 6th edition, volume I, London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, →OCLC, pages 215–216:
      [] Chriſt, that he might not make either a ſuſpected or precarious Addreſs to Men's Underſtandings, out-does Moſes, before he diſplaces him; ſhevvs an aſcendant Spirit above him, raiſes the Dead, and cures more Plagues than he brought upon Egypt, []
    • 1830 July, Robert Southey, “The Young Dragon. Part IV.”, in The Poetical Works of Robert Southey. [], volume VI, London: [] [Andrew Spottiswoode] for Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, [], published 1838, →OCLC, page 279:
      The body [of the dragon] mounts ascendant; / The head before, the tail behind, / The wings, like sails that want a wind, / On either side are pendant.
    • 1851, John Ruskin, “The Cornice and Capital”, in The Stones of Venice, volume I (The Foundations), London: Smith, Elder, and Co., [], →OCLC, page 303:
      [A]s the proper profile for the curve is that of a tree bough, as we saw above, so the proper arrangement of its farther ornament is that which best expresses rooted and ascendant strength like that of foliage.
  2. (figurative) Controlling, dominant, surpassing.
    Synonym: superior
  3. (astrology) In an eastern direction rising just above the horizon.
    • 1735, [Alexander] Pope, Of the Characters of Women: An Epistle to a Lady [Martha Blount], London: [] J. Wright, for Lawton Gilliver [], →OCLC, page 16:
      This Phœbus promis'd, I forget the Year, / VVhen thoſe blue eyes firſt open'd on the Sphere; / Aſcendant Phœbus vvatch'd that hour vvith care, / Averted half your Parents ſimple Pray'r, / And gave you Beauty, but deny'd the Pelf / That buys your Sex a Tyrant o'er itſelf: []
  4. (astronomy) Rising towards the zenith.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, “Of the Canicular or Dogdayes”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: [], London: [] T[homas] H[arper] for Edward Dod, [], →OCLC, 4th book, page 227:
      [W]e muſt diſcover freezing ſtars that may reſolve the latter colds of vvinter, vvhich vvho ever deſires to invent, let him ſtudie the ſtarres of Andromeda, or the nearer conſtellation of Pegaſus, vvhich are about that time aſcendant.
  5. (botany, physiology) Of a part of an organism: synonym of ascending (leading or sloping upwards)
  6. (genealogy, archaic or obsolete) Synonym of ascending (of or pertaining to one's ancestors)

Alternative forms edit

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

Noun edit

ascendant (plural ascendants)

  1. (astrology, also figurative) The degree of the zodiac or point of the ecliptic which rises in an eastern direction above the horizon at a particular moment (especially the moment of a person's birth), which is supposed to have a commanding influence on a person's fortune and life; a horoscope.
    • 1587, Philip of Mornay [i.e., Philippe de Mornay], “A Solution of the Obiections of the Heathen ageinst Iesus, the Sonne of God”, in Philip Sidney, Arthur Golding, transl., A Woorke Concerning the Trewnesse of the Christian Religion, [], London: [] [John Charlewood and] George Robinson for Thomas Cadman, [], →OCLC, page 619:
      [T]hey ſay that Jeſus in his natiuitie, had for his aſcendent, the ſigne of Virgo in her firſt face, as they terme it, []
    • 1642, Tho[mas] Browne, “The Second Part”, in Religio Medici. [], 4th edition, London: [] E. Cotes for Andrew Crook [], published 1656, →OCLC, section 11, page 164:
      At my Nativity, my aſcendent vvas the earthly ſigne of Scorpius, I vvas borne in the Planetary houre of Saturne, and I think I have a piece of that Leaden Planet in me.
    • 1824, Geoffrey Crayon [pseudonym; Washington Irving], “The Club of Queer Fellows”, in Tales of a Traveller, part 1 (Strange Stories. []), Philadelphia, Pa.: H[enry] C[harles] Carey & I[saac] Lea, [], →OCLC, page 22:
      There he was a mere cypher: here he was lord of the ascendant; the choice spirit, the dominant genius.
    • 1837, William Whewell, “On the Mysticism of the Middle Ages”, in History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Times. [], volume I, London: John W[illiam] Parker, []; Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: J. and J. J. Deighton, →OCLC, book IV (History of the Physical Sciences in the Middle Ages), page 300:
      The most important part of the sky in the astrologer's consideration, was that sign of the zodiac which rose at the moment of the child's birth; this was, properly speaking, the horoscope, the ascendant, or the first house; the whole circuit of the heavens being divided into twelve houses, in which life and death, marriage and children, riches and honours, friends and enemies were distributed.
  2. (by extension)
    1. Chiefly in in the ascendant: an act of ascending or rising.
      • 1844, B[enjamin] Disraeli, chapter V, in Coningsby; or, The New Generation. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, book IV, page 47:
        Towards the end of the session of 1836, the hopes of the Conservative party were again in the ascendant.
      • 1847, George Grote, “Lyric Poetry—The Seven Wise Men”, in History of Greece, volume IV, London: John Murray, [], →OCLC, part II (Continuation of Historical Greece), page 136:
        [T]hose poets, [] by enriching the common language and by circulating from to town to town either in person or in their compositions, contributed to fan the flame of Pan-Hellenic patriotism at a time when there were few circumstances to co-operate with them, and when the causes tending to perpetuate isolation seemed in the ascendant.
    2. (figurative) Synonym of ascendancy (commanding influence; dominant control; superiority, supremacy)
      One man has the ascendant over another.
      • 1607, Michael Drayton, “The Legend of Great Cromwell”, in Poems: [], London: [] Willi[am] Stansby for Iohn Smethwicke, published 1630, →OCLC, page 446:
        To my aſcendant haſting then to clime, / There are the firſt predomining the time.
      • 1672, William Temple, “An Essay upon the Original and Nature of Government. []”, in Miscellanea. The First Part. [...], 3rd edition, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], and Awnsham and John Churchill, [], published 1691, →OCLC, pages 91–92:
        [T]he Dominion of ſucceeding Favourites [] occaſioned perpetual commotions in that State, and changes of the Miniſtry; and vvould certainly have produced thoſe in the Government too; if [Cardinal] Richelieu having gained the abſolute aſcendant in that Court, had not engaged in the deſigns at firſt of a VVar upon the Hugonots, and after that vvas ended, upon Spain; []
      • 1769, William Robertson, “Book I”, in The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V. [], volume II, London: [] W. and W. Strahan, for W[illiam] Strahan, T[homas] Cadell, []; and J. Balfour, [], →OCLC, page 44:
        Chievres had acquired over the mind of the young monarch the aſcendant not only of a tutor, but of a parent.
    3. (genealogy) An ancestor.
      Antonym: descendant
      • 1726, John Ayliffe, “Of Administration, and the Possession of Intestate Goods”, in Parergon Juris Canonici Anglicani: Or, A Commentary, by Way of Supplement to the Canons and Constitutions of the Church of England. [], London: [] D. Leach, and sold by John Walthoe [], →OCLC, page 34:
        The Eſtate and Inheritance of a Perſon dying Inteſtate is, by Right of Devolution, according to the Civil-Lavv, given to ſuch as are ally'd to him ex Latere, commonly ſtiled Collaterals, if there be no Aſcendants or Deſcendants ſurviving at the time of his Death.
    4. (obsolete)
      1. A person who ascends or goes up; specifically (usually followed by to), a person who ascends to a throne or assumes some other position of power.
        Given his father’s ghastly demise, one would not expect such glee from the ascendant to his throne.
        • 1593, Tho[mas] Nashe, Christs Teares Over Ierusalem. [], London: [] Iames Roberts, and are to be solde by Andrewe Wise, [], →OCLC, folio 15, verso:
          [P]ryde can endure no Superiours, no equals, no aſcendants, no ſprigs, no grafts, no likely beginnings.
      2. Something which is higher than the things around it; a peak, a summit; specifically (typography), synonym of ascender (the portion of a lowercase letter that extends above the midline)
      3. Something which leads or slopes upwards, such as a flight of stairs or an upward incline.
        • 1642 (indicated as 1641), John Milton, “That Prelaty was Not Set Up for Prevention of Schisme, as is Pretended, or if It were, that It Performes Not what It was First Set Up for, but quite the Contrary”, in The Reason of Church-governement Urg’d against Prelaty [], London: [] E[dward] G[riffin] for Iohn Rothwell, [], →OCLC, 1st book, page 25:
          [T]here can be no reaſon yeilded neither in nature, nor in relation, vvherefore, if it have lavvfully mounted thus high, it ſhould not be a Lordly aſcendent in the horoſcope of the Church, from Primate to Patriarch, and ſo to Pope.
      4. (rare) A person who supports a policy of ecclesiastical or national supremacy.
        • 1795 May 26 (date written), Edmund Burke, “A Second Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe”, in [Walker King], editor, The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, new edition, volume IX, London: [] [R. Gilbert] for C[harles] and J[ohn] Rivington, [], published 1826, →OCLC, pages 418–419:
          Indeed, my dear Sir, there is not a single particular in the Francis-street declamations, which has not, to your and to my certain knowledge, been taught by the jealous ascendants, sometimes by doctrine, sometimes by example, always by provocation.

Alternative forms edit

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

References edit

  1. ^ ascendent, ppl.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Compare ascendant, adj. and n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2023; ascendant, adj. and n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit

French edit

Etymology edit

PIE word
*h₂éd

From Old French ascendant, borrowed from Latin ascendentem, the accusative singular of ascendēns (ascending, rising), the present participle of ascendō, adscendō (to climb up, go up, move upwards; to rise; to spring up), from ad- (prefix meaning ‘(up) to’) + scandō (to ascend, climb, mount; to clamber) (from Proto-Indo-European *skend- (to climb, scale; to dart; to jump; to scan (poetry))).

Pronunciation edit

Participle edit

ascendant

  1. present participle of ascendre

Adjective edit

ascendant (feminine ascendante, masculine plural ascendants, feminine plural ascendantes)

  1. ascendant

Derived terms edit

Noun edit

ascendant m (plural ascendants)

  1. (astrology) ascendant
  2. supremacy, ascendancy
    L’équipe adverse a repris l’ascendant du match.The opposing team regained the supremacy of the match.
  3. (genealogy) ancestor, forefather, progenitor

Further reading edit

Latin edit

Verb edit

ascendant

  1. third-person plural present active subjunctive of ascendō