Definition of dominant in English:



  • 1Most important, powerful, or influential.

    ‘they are now in an even more dominant position in the market’
    • ‘To make progress in their struggle for equality, they needed to wrest power from their own dominant strata.’
    • ‘However, she disobeys her orders and resists the dominant powers with little effort.’
    • ‘Only the largest and most dominant males have the opportunity to breed.’
    • ‘The emergence of improvement as a dominant ideology derived from three of its characteristics.’
    • ‘He argues that historically the reaction of lesser states has been determined more by the potential power of the dominant state than by its actual behaviour or avowed intentions.’
    • ‘However, the second half of the month was wet and windy as Atlantic depressions became the dominant influence, some of which owed their origins to former hurricanes.’
    • ‘It has moved from being a dominant power which most often works through a sort of informal consensus to one that increasingly seeks to act through dictation.’
    • ‘Larger individuals generally are socially dominant, and so compete better for food resources.’
    • ‘Any firm with the market power attendant upon a dominant position has the potential to do this.’
    • ‘His powerful and sometimes dominant influence on Austrian politics is a result of the refusal of the other official parties to seriously take him on.’
    • ‘Moreover, the development of a dominant ideology deserves a mention in this context.’
    • ‘The romantics are moralistic, rebellious against the perceived dominant power, and combative against any who appear to stray from the true path.’
    • ‘They will not be the dominant power for long anyway.’
    • ‘By the 1930s, it had become the dominant paradigm in American experimental psychology.’
    • ‘How has all this misleading language become so dominant across the political spectrum?’
    • ‘Geopolitics, history and common sense all indicate that a dominant power chooses its own policies without being influenced by the special wishes of others - however friendly.’
    • ‘The peace settlement left it in a potentially dominant position in Europe, wounded but not seriously hurt.’
    • ‘It has, since the 1960s, been the dominant influence on education policy on both sides of the Atlantic.’
    • ‘The moral of the story so far is this: don't become the clearly dominant power unless you are able to preserve your position through cunning diplomacy, or you are large enough to make the dash for victory.’
    • ‘Economically, however, the paper remains dominant in its market.’
    presiding, ruling, governing, controlling, commanding, ascendant, supreme, authoritative, most influential, most powerful, superior
    assertive, self-assured, self-possessed, authoritative, forceful, domineering, commanding, controlling, bullish
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a high place or object) overlooking others.
      • ‘The mountains represent the dominant terrain of the country and the rising sun represents a ‘new dawn’ for the nation.’
      • ‘Councillors heard the property was in a dominant position overlooking the Upper Green, and due to design details did not contribute favourably to the appearance of the conservation area.’
      • ‘When covering a region from dominant terrain, evacuate the force by establishing a series of perimeter posts.’
      • ‘Instead of constantly maneuvering to maintain contact, the platoon should seize the dominant terrain in the area.’
      • ‘‘We own the dominant terrain in the area’.’
    2. 1.2Genetics Relating to or denoting heritable characteristics that are controlled by genes that are expressed in offspring even when inherited from only one parent.
      Often contrasted with recessive
      • ‘One dominant suppressor was identified among the 112 suppressors characterized.’
      • ‘Consider first a dominant allele that is beneficial to females but detrimental to males.’
      • ‘For simplicity, we assume that alleles are partially dominant and expressed in both sexes.’
      • ‘In contrast, a fully dominant modifier can never invade.’
      • ‘X-ray mutagenesis led to the identification of dominant mutations altering the number of bristles.’
    3. 1.3Ecology Denoting the predominant species in a plant (or animal) community.
      • ‘In the hotter climates of southwest Asia and Africa, a ‘mutant’ with only one hump, the Dromedary, became the dominant species.’
      • ‘Fluctuations in the productivity of dominant plant species should also have a significant impact on complex food webs in forest ecosystems.’
      • ‘Sandy areas at the study site can be classified into two habitat types based on mobility of the sand and on the dominant perennial plant species.’
      • ‘In an environment with moving sand, tolerance to partial burial seems to be a requisite for the dominant plant species.’
      • ‘Perennial woody plants are the dominant species in many ecosystems of the world and have significant ecological and economic importance.’
    4. 1.4 In decision theory, (of a choice) at least as good as the alternatives in all circumstances, and better in some.
      ‘holding back is here a dominant strategy’
      • ‘Although the dominant strategy is to not donate, approximately 50% of the students donated.’
      • ‘In game theoretic terms, this suggests that there is a dominant strategy that mechanistically pushes all parties to compete.’
      • ‘At times the seeking or avoiding of such even exchanges may even be the dominant strategy in a game.’
      • ‘They too concluded that non-invasive ventilation was a dominant strategy for severe exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.’


  • 1A dominant thing, in particular.

    • ‘If dominants do not assess, subordinates will always remain flexible but may either cooperate or cheat.’
    • ‘We could equally well be dealing with an adaptation of a legend about another animal in a culture where snakes were prominent, an instance, in other words, of what folklorists term a traditional dominant.’
    • ‘While Rainer was closely associated with both of these artistic dominants, she did not sit comfortably with either.’
    • ‘I base the model on the simplest skew model, which presents a game between one subordinate and one dominant.’
    • ‘If subordinates never cheat, why should dominants assess subordinate reproduction at all, if doing so is costly?’
    • ‘If dominants assess, subordinates may either commit and cooperate or remain flexible and cheat.’
    • ‘We refer to the nest usurper and new dominant of the nest as the alpha female and the subordinate female whose nest is usurped as the beta female.’
    1. 1.1Genetics A dominant trait or gene.
      • ‘Instead selection causes the same increase in allele frequency in both dominants and recessives, at least early on when the fates of nearly all alleles are determined.’
      • ‘The gene governing taillessness is an incomplete dominant.’
      • ‘This suggested that the wirehair gene is a simple dominant because there was little chance the unrelated female was carrying a recessive wirehair gene.’
      • ‘Most are inherited as autosomal dominants, and death can be prevented by implantable cardioverter defibrillators.’
    2. 1.2Ecology A dominant species in a plant (or animal) community.
      • ‘Forest trees are good experimental objects because they are dominants, and because suitable methods are available to determine growth increments.’
      • ‘However, shorter subordinate species were able to capture equal or even greater amounts of light per unit mass than dominants in spite of the fact that they were heavily shaded.’
      • ‘The presumed mechanism is the increase in biomass with fertility, and the resulting rise in competition intensity, which leads to the replacement of smaller and more-slow growing plant species by tall canopy-forming dominants.’
      • ‘In the concessions model of reproductive transactions, dominants are assumed to have complete control over reproduction and group membership.’
      • ‘In all years, the community dominants were species resilient to the stress of drawdowns, or good colonizers.’
    3. 1.3Music The fifth note of the diatonic scale of any key, or the key based on this, considered in relation to the key of the tonic.
      • ‘The sonata form, and its gripping epic of migration from the tonic to the dominant and then back again, is an archetype of this.’
      • ‘Pitches in brackets are not dominant in the melodic cell.’
      • ‘In measures 68 and 69, an A-major chord, the dominant of the key, is sounded, signaling the end of the piece.’
      • ‘At the end of this deeply thought-provoking work, then, one is left wondering whether the tonic is E and the dominant B, or the tonic B with dominants D, F and G#.’
      • ‘So, as he informs us, his tonal process is principally governed by what he describes as tonics and dominants.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin dominant- ruling, governing from the verb dominari (see dominate).