\ ˈdī-nə-stē also
-ˌna-stē, especially British
Definition of dynasty
2: a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time
born into a powerful political dynasty
a baseball dynasty
Other Words from dynasty
dynastic \ dī-ˈna-stik \ adjective dynastically \ dī-ˈna-sti-k(ə-)lē \adverb
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.
Recent Examples on the Web
As part of the Modern Warrior theme, the designs also reflected three additional concepts—patriotism, dynasty and fearlessness.
— Alice Park/tokyo, Time, 27 July 2021
Despite a decades-old dynasty, Carmel has never placed a swimmer on the U.S. Olympic team.
— David Woods, The Indianapolis Star, 9 June 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
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
Learn More About dynasty
Listen to Our Podcast About dynasty
Play video on original page
Get Word of the Day delivered to your inbox!
Dictionary Entries Near dynasty
Statistics for dynasty
3 Aug 2021
Top 2% of words
Cite this Entry
“Dynasty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dynasty. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.
More Definitions for dynasty
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
See the full definition for dynasty in the English Language Learners Dictionary
Kids Definition of dynasty
: a series of rulers of the same family
More from Merriam-Webster on dynasty
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Difficult Spelling Words Quiz
Which is the correct spelling?
Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!
TAKE THE QUIZ
Spell words. Make bears.
Love words? Need even more definitions?
Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!
WORDS AT PLAY
“In Vino Veritas” and Other Latin Phrases to Live By
The Words of the Week - 7/30/21
Is it 'further' or 'farther'?
'Allusion' vs. 'Illusion'
ASK THE EDITORS
'Everyday' vs. 'Every Day'
What Is 'Semantic Bleaching'?
Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice?
Challenging Words You Should Know
TAKE THE QUIZ
July 2021 Words of the Day Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?
TAKE THE QUIZ
PLAY THE GAME
Learn a new word every day. Delivered to your inbox!
OTHER MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARIES
SCRABBLE® WORD FINDER
© 2021 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated