Definition of ascend in US English:



  • 1with object Go up or climb.

    ‘she ascended the stairs’
    no object ‘new magmas were created and ascended to the surface’
    • ‘Releasing her hand, he ascended the staircase two stairs at a time.’
    • ‘With that, we both ascended the stairs up to the top floor.’
    • ‘She ascended the narrow stairs and entered the upstairs hall.’
    • ‘Upon entering and ascending the stairs, we checked our coats and stepped into what would become quite the memorable evening.’
    • ‘‘Same to you Lord Wellington,’ I said before ascending the stairs.’
    • ‘Dinah wanted to scowl back at him, but she held it down, smiling sweetly instead before ascending the stairs to get away from her parents and their prying questions.’
    • ‘At lunchtime I ascend the stairs to the main canteen and take a noodle and stirfry meal at the subsidised price.’
    • ‘It was with some trepidation that I ascended the stairs to my beloved Indigo last night.’
    • ‘Madison leaves the room and slowly ascends the stairs, listening to the continuing discussion.’
    • ‘Grant is quickly pulled under the stairwell, where they quietly hide and listen as someone in new white shoes and nylons walks by and slowly ascends the stairs.’
    • ‘After ascending the helix of stairs, I sat down at my computer and pulled up the logs that Marius had sent me.’
    • ‘As the door widens, we return to the shot showing him ascending the stairs.’
    • ‘A few minutes (hours, millennia) later, the security guard ascended the stairs behind me.’
    • ‘At the end of the interval he ascended the stairs.’
    • ‘After ascending the elliptical stairs past a couple small galleries, one is immediately struck by the bright orange carpet laid across most of the fourth floor.’
    • ‘He kissed her on the cheek before leaving and ascending the stairs towards his bedroom.’
    • ‘Jacob ascended the creaky stairs on his way to Peter's apartment.’
    • ‘She glanced around the dark house before ascending the stairs.’
    • ‘Bentsen was already ascending the stairs, turning his back on the Tunnels.’
    • ‘Corinne, seeing a movement out of the corner of her eye, looked up and saw Carla ascending the stairs.’
    climb, climb up, come up, go up, move up, make its way up, make one's way up, come upwards, go upwards, move upwards, rise, rise up, arise
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Climb to the summit of (a mountain or hill)
      ‘the first traveler to ascend the mountain’
      • ‘We ascended the hill and passed through Montmartre, a little touristy but still very picturesque.’
      • ‘The coyote slowly ascended the mountain, sweat glistening on his brow, his thoughts lost in the events of the previous day.’
      • ‘Back then we had planned to ascend the mountain in traditional style, positioning camps as we climbed, and we had established Camp One at about 19,000 feet.’
      • ‘A tide of men and women flowed in their direction, everyone ascending the hill.’
      • ‘To that end, Mount Eerie is a five-song story cycle about a boy who is born, greets the sun, ascends a mountain, dies, and then has a massive, post-mortem revelation.’
      • ‘As we ascended a rolling mountain, a man crossed the road ahead of the bus and waved the driver over.’
      • ‘Each year, thousands of devotees ascend the mountain at midnight under a full moon, chanting mantras, to offer their gifts to the ancestral spirits.’
      • ‘Now he and the inner circle of disciples ascend the mountain.’
      • ‘The climbers will ascend the mountains of Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales as part of their trek.’
      • ‘The trapper had seen enough wolves with their packs during his life to know one when he saw it, and stayed far from the baron and his entourage of eighty men, even as they ascended the mountain.’
      • ‘As Clyde ascended the mountain, the sky began to clear.’
      • ‘Moses ascends the mountain, talks with Yahweh, and comes back with clay tablets.’
      • ‘We began to ascend the hill and for a while we had to concentrate on nothing more than the slippery climb.’
      • ‘Those who ascend the summit of the mountain are rewarded with unparalleled views of the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Rift Valleys.’
      • ‘On our mountain safari we ascend spectacular mountain passes, traverse hairpin bends, rolling green hills and dramatic and awe-inspiring sandstone cliffs.’
      • ‘She slowly ascended the little hill, and reached the back porch.’
      • ‘The emotional turmoil naturally accompanying Jotham's situation inspired him to ascend the hill and shout to the men of Shechem to listen to his story.’
      • ‘This meant that in a 43-year period, 61 Chinese mountaineers have ascended the peak on 14 occasions.’
      • ‘As he ascended the mountain, he was surrounded by thousands of his companions reciting the talbiyah and the takbir.’
      • ‘However, a botanist who climbed many peaks in Colorado, Edwin James, ascended the mountain in 1820.’
    2. 1.2 (of a fish or boat) move upstream along (a river).
      • ‘Adults enter the Columbia River in June and July, ascending the river at about 13 miles per day.’
      • ‘Our plan was to find a guide with a boat, then ascend 20 miles up the Río Jaqué to the heart of the national park.’
      • ‘These fish were probably in the vicinity ‘picking off’ the salmon as they were about to ascend the River Wear to spawn.’
      • ‘fish of the genus Alosa in the herring family, normally live in the sea but ascend rivers in the spring to spawn; and that is when they are caught and are at their best for eating.’
      • ‘He was no longer planning to ascend hundreds of miles up the Missouri River before winter.’
      • ‘In early spring 1837, the steamboat St. Peter's left St. Louis to ascend the Missouri River in time to capitalize on the year's fur trading season.’
      • ‘Reloading their canoes, they ascended the Jefferson River, each captain with a portion of the expedition party.’
  • 2no object Rise through the air.

    ‘we had ascended 3,000 ft’
    • ‘But the thing that strikes you most as you ascend on one of the resort's two small chair lifts is the amount of snow there is here - the place is absolutely caked in it, even though all the locals were saying it had so far been a bad season.’
    • ‘As the lift ascends, it passes the Great East Window, giving a close-up view of the toll the weather and environment has taken on the glass and masonry over the past six centuries.’
    • ‘With screaming engines they would sweep deep down, fire at everything that moved and then in the same motion would ascend again towards a sky that did not care.’
    • ‘We circumnavigated the tower twice while ascending slowly.’
    • ‘The Matterhorn towers beyond a railway as it ascends toward Gornergrat.’
    • ‘A short walk from the cathedral is a cable car, which ascends around half a mile to provide an impressive view of the island and the surrounding fjords.’
    • ‘Within less than a millionth of a second, this vapor expands into a highly luminous mass of burning air and nuclear material that ascends on its own far up into the atmosphere, reaching widths as large as thousands of feet across.’
    • ‘The pyre burned slowly at first, a flickering glow around the base, but it quickly grew until a tower of flames leapt up into the night, sparks ascending until they faded from sight.’
    • ‘We set out yesterday on Mount Vinson, with a goal to ascend about 8,000 feet on Vinson's west face.’
    • ‘Slowly her feet lifted off the ground and she ascended into the air.’
    • ‘We spotted some keen fitness fanatics setting off for the summit on foot but we took the cable car instead - a wise choice, since it rotates as it ascends, giving stunning panoramic views.’
    • ‘Reciler followed and the lift started to ascend automatically.’
    • ‘All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over 1/3 of the balloons were unreleased.’
    • ‘Mac eased the shuttle off the ground, then let it begin to ascend gently before moving forward.’
    • ‘The door closes and the helicopter immediately ascends vertically to 1000 feet.’
    • ‘Brett seems to relax slightly as the lift starts to ascend.’
    • ‘Everyone looked over, stared at Carmen, then proceeded to mumble their greetings and introductions as the lift ascended.’
    • ‘True flyers can thus move horizontally or even ascend at a steady speed, unlike gliders and parachutists (unless a strong wind carries one up).’
    • ‘The professors told the students that the distance of 46 kilometres, ascending from 1,700 feet at Mettupalayam to 7,300 feet in Ooty, is considered the steepest in Asia.’
    1. 2.1 (of a road or flight of steps) slope or lead up.
      ‘the road ascends to the lake’
      • ‘The climb ascended through a tight forest, green from canopy to floor.’
      • ‘As the trek ascends and descends on a switchback ascent, an ever-present extra hazard is high-altitude sickness brought about by the ‘thinning’ air’
      • ‘Making our way up the gently ascending road that cut its way through the forest, we saw hordes of greedy monkeys waiting for freebies.’
      • ‘The path is slippery and ascends into a narrow valley.’
      • ‘As the road ascends from the green covered hillside to the cactus covered plains, it quickly gets colder, especially as it approaches the snow-capped mountains at around 5,000 metres.’
      • ‘The road was beginning to ascend now, the landscape dotted with pine trees.’
      • ‘The stairs would do any Scarlett O'Hara justice in that the first landing leads to a bathroom, then ascends by a further five steps to the first bedroom.’
      • ‘After Kallar, the track ascends into the mountains hugging the verdant slopes.’
      • ‘This crest ascended more gently than the sides of the ridge, leading us to broader, more open country that rises steadily but not steeply toward the peak.’
      • ‘Leading up to the lobby, its glass doors proudly displaying the Union symbol in frosted white, was a wide flight of steps, ascending gently from the sidewalk.’
      • ‘Mary Lipsett had warned us that the road would deteriorate as it ascended into the range - Mary was right.’
      • ‘The stairs ascend in three flights to a wide hallway on the second floor, which gives the house its name.’
      • ‘The steep path ascends from here to the high point of the circuit, Dale Head.’
      • ‘During the summer he takes visitors up the tower's 134 spiral stone steps, but the staircase narrows and the headroom reduces as it ascends and people have to stoop for the final few yards.’
      • ‘Climbing this leads to the base of an unstable boulder slope which ascends into Cape Kennedy Chamber with its impressive array of stalagmites.’
      • ‘The sea caverns went on for many miles, gently sloping upward and finally ascending into an open air cave somewhere on the Alaskan coastline.’
      • ‘The road becomes a gravel track and begins to ascend through silver birch as the hills start closing in.’
    2. 2.2 Move up the social or professional scale.
      ‘some executives ascend to top-level positions’
      ‘he took exams to ascend through the ranks’
      • ‘Whoever has access to the financial means available to the opposition is able to ascend socially.’
      • ‘Instead he moved straight into the family firm, ascending the ranks as he grew older.’
      • ‘As in the lines-of-business, actors in the studio stock system could ascend through the ranks, from extra to lead.’
      • ‘She ascended quickly, rising above the levels of middle management right to the executive levels.’
      • ‘Though it was too late for him to become an Acolyte, this would insure that he would ascend through the ranks quickly.’
      • ‘She ascends the ranks through her own skill and the misfortunes of other dancers, but never achieves a status so lofty that she can afford to quit her waitressing job at night.’
      • ‘They ascend the academic ranks and make important policy decisions for divisions, departments, faculties, and the community.’
      • ‘In addition, there are bit players and extras, who may or may not ascend through the ranks to become stars or character actors.’
      • ‘But in terms of a career, somebody ascending up some ladder, that's not something I've experienced at all - largely because I decided to become a freelance writer.’
      • ‘When your rock band implodes prematurely, cutting short a career that was still ascending after four full-lengths, don't you just have to believe in life after death, kind of?’
      • ‘As these groups arrived and settled amongst different regions and in different social strata, those with European origins quickly ascended on the social scale.’
      • ‘Paradoxically, this decline in academic opportunities for research is occurring just as ‘women have finally begun to ascend the ranks’.’
      • ‘Who knows, one of them could ascend the ranks into the highest levels of ballet!’
      • ‘The hierarchy is a strict queue, meaning that members of the queue ascend in rank only when an individual in front of them dies.’
      • ‘All we had wanted to do was make an appearance, and maybe then we'd be able to ascend the social hierarchy at school.’
      • ‘As she ascended through the angelic ranks and was granted more power, Paris would have more energy, and she would learn how to conserve that energy.’
      • ‘In what ways can players ascend in rank and acquire more powerful ships?’
      • ‘The answer would seem obvious, especially for managers who have ascended through the ranks.’
      • ‘By racing, players can ascend in level and rank to build up their reputation and weekly in-game salary.’
      • ‘Nomaga had become something of an enigmatic legend in the School, as he had ascended ranks faster than the vast majority could lay claim to.’
    3. 2.3 (of a spiritual being or soul) rise into heaven.
      ‘the Prophet ascended to heaven’
      • ‘Jewish mystical tradition teaches that all prayers from around the world ascend to the Wall, from where they then ascend to heaven.’
      • ‘They will give no serious consideration to the claims that Jesus was born of a virgin mother or that he left the tomb and ascended to heaven in his risen body.’
      • ‘On the other hand, there is a mystical advantage to standing at the Western Wall, the spot where all prayers ultimately ascend to heaven.’
      • ‘Peter, the apostle perhaps closest in friendship to Jesus, would have been present when the disciples saw Jesus ascend into heaven.’
      • ‘One of the sergeants, Maximus, claimed that he saw their spirits ascending to heaven during their executions, and he was then beaten to death.’
      • ‘He dies on the spot for his crime, but all see his soul ascend to heaven thanks to Brendan's intercession.’
      • ‘Being engrossed and motionless, she indicated that she saw these souls ascending to heaven.’
      • ‘They would then ascend into heaven in broad daylight, as the Chinese phrase has it.’
      • ‘The grieving Rama then ascends to heaven with his followers.’
      • ‘It might ascend to heaven, or descend to hell, go off into some sort of parallel world, or occupy some other body, human or animal.’
      • ‘It is said people who have faith in Taoism will ascend to heaven if they climb this stone.’
      • ‘Once they have gone past a certain point, they either ascend to heaven or are condemned to hell.’
      • ‘The mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims and is supposedly the place from where the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.’
      • ‘His feet are several inches from the ground, as if he were levitating like a saint or martyr ascending to heaven.’
      • ‘In the Christian religion, according to the priests, the soul takes leave of the body and ascends into heaven.’
      • ‘Every act of humility, repentance, or honor ascends to heaven and unlocks even more grace from God.’
      • ‘The text says nothing about the woman ascending into heaven to acquire a heavenly position.’
      • ‘On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of the Father.’
      • ‘Would he ascend to heaven or drop ungraciously to hell?’
      • ‘No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.’
    4. 2.4 (of a voice or sound) rise in pitch.
      ‘Carolyn's voice had ascended into high-pitched giggles’
      • ‘The set begins with repeated root-position chords as triplets, ascending stepwise in C major, and provides the basis for most of the book.’
      • ‘Like an Escher print, this is music that seems to ascend infinitely over a nearly twelve-minute span.’
      • ‘The song begins with a haunting keyboard intro, laced with sound effects, and ascends into a bright, airy, romantic ballad with a chant-like quality.’
      • ‘Starting on C major, they ascend in pitch utilizing the key signatures that employ no more than four sharps or fiats.’
      • ‘The savage blankness of the instrumentals is tempered by vocal tracks that ascend like beacons, their brightness amplified by the murky distances between them.’
      • ‘Now, as you ascend higher, try to let the voice be as free from tension as possible.’
      • ‘A great, silent cry came from the stone, ascending in pitch until it became almost unbearable.’
      • ‘There are 12 pitch classes, and these notes are continually repeated as they ascend in pitch height.’
      • ‘The melody, ascending into the upper registers for the chorus, punctuates the emotion in the lyrics.’
      • ‘This sequence always seems to ascend in pitch, although the first and the last tone is identical.’
      • ‘I switched to a rather dark song, formulated almost entirely of flats and sharps ascending or descending in scales.’
      • ‘Then the same voice, seeming to ascend still higher, cried to me: "Come hither and see!"’
      • ‘The song ascends into an atmospheric ending that feels like the swirls that a major crush produces in the center of your chest, spinning color wheels that could burst from your throat at any second.’
      • ‘The voice was ascending rapidly up the pitch scale, finally cracking.’
      • ‘As you ascend, you will feel the voice wanting to shift somewhere around D or E above Middle C.’


  • ascend the throne

    • Become king or queen.

      • ‘On ascending the throne, she quickly captured hearts at home and abroad as she strove to bring the royal family closer to the people.’
      • ‘While in the hospital on June 4, she became queen after her husband Gyanendra ascended the throne.’
      • ‘When the new king ascended the throne, his subjects were confident the fat times had arrived.’
      • ‘The very least he might propose is a referendum to gain the consent of the people before ascending the throne.’
      • ‘The title originated in the Tang Dynasty when the emperor, after ascending the throne, would go to the top of Mount Tai to offer a sacrifice to God.’
      • ‘Eventually, Gavyn overthrew his sister's rogue government, and ascended the throne together with his Lady Merria.’
      • ‘He was a petty thief jailed for 15 years, but released by King Abdullah in a traditional amnesty given when the king ascended the throne.’
      • ‘They foretell that the king will ascend the throne!’
      • ‘At Stephen's death, Henry ascended the throne as King Henry II.’
      • ‘Queen Chasidia herself had just recently ascended the throne, her term starting only a few years ago.’
      • ‘He had ascended the throne with the blessing of Russian Emperor Alexander II, but his successor Alexander III felt personal contempt for the Bulgarian prince.’
      • ‘Razia Sultana ruled India and was chosen to ascend the throne over her two brothers.’
      • ‘Within the span of 20 years, fragmentary records indicate that no less than 18 kings and possibly one queen ascended the throne with nominal control over the country.’
      • ‘In 540, King Chinhung ascended the throne when he was still young and so his mother ruled Shilla as regent.’
      • ‘Since no king ascended the throne after him, that calendar remained in use as the Yazdgerdi calendar.’
      • ‘On Elizabeth's death in 1603, Mary's son James IV, already king of Scotland, ascended the throne of England.’
      • ‘In Japan, female members of the first family cannot ascend the throne.’
      • ‘Experts believe that his father's position helped him to ascend the throne, since there was no royal blood in his family.’
      • ‘He was tutored by Aristotle, and ascended the throne when less than 20 years old.’
      • ‘The son of the ruler's sister has ascended the throne for generations to ensure the purity of the line.’


Late Middle English: from Latin ascendere, from ad- ‘to’ + scandere ‘to climb’.