August 05, 2012
dynasty (noun)
\DYE-nuh-stee\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a succession of rulers from the same line of descent
How do you use it?
The Sung dynasty's wise leadership helped to make the years from 960 to 1279 one of China's most brilliant cultural epochs.
Are you a word wiz?

We've told you what a "dynasty" is. Now we'll see if you can be a word detective and use that knowledge to puzzle out the meaning of the related noun "dynast." Based on what you know about "dynasty," what does "dynast" mean?

Answer B rules! "Dynast" and "dynasty" both descend from the Greek verb "dynasthai," which means "to be able" or "to have power." Of the two words, "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.
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